Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the funding sources for the trolley and the trolley route.

A new public transportation option is set to debut in Historic Downtown McKinney.

The McKinney Downtown Trolley will begin operating on July 5, according to city staff.

The details

The new trolley will offer rides on a fixed route in and around downtown. It is expected to operate from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday each week as well as during special events. The trolley is also available to rent, according to the city’s website.

The trolley’s route will be about 10-12 minutes to complete a full circuit, according to the city’s website. Riders will board the trolley at designated pickup stops but are able to get off the trolley at any point along the route. The stops along the route have not yet been finalized.
The trolley route will span from Church Street to the east side of SH 5. (Courtesy city of McKinney)
The 21-foot-long, 14,500-pound trolley seats 14 passengers in addition to the driver, who will offer historical and educational facts about the city during trolley rides. The trolley rides are free, with the option to provide tips to the trolley driver, Cultural District Director Andrew Jones said.

However, Jones said the primary goal of the trolley is addressing mobility challenges in the area, such as crossing SH 5.

“This helps increase the mobility of everybody around downtown, ... but we want that experience to be enlightening, educational and also enjoyable,” Jones said.

The trolley cost about $211,000 and was funded by the McKinney Community Development Corp. and McKinney Main Street as well as hotel occupancy tax funds, the city’s website states. The trolley will be maintained by McKinney Main Street, with annual operating expenses estimated at $25,000, Jones said.

“Yes, it helps get you from the parking garage or the ... north parking lots to downtown, but it's also just a fun thing to ride.”

Diving deeper

The trolley will replace the DASH system, a free downtown shuttle that utilizes a six-seat golf cart for on-demand transportation around downtown.

“We knew there was a huge opportunity to make the DASH experience better and have it feel more connected to our history, and also be a great fun experience,” Jones said.

Jones said he does not anticipate an impact to the flow of traffic in downtown as a result of trolley operations.

“You will see it around, and you may have to slow down while somebody hops on or gets dropped off, but that's happening already; we already have our DASH,” Jones said.

The setup

Jones said there were multiple trolleys that have run through downtown McKinney in the past.

The first interurban commuter train car system in the area debuted in 1907 and spanned from Dallas to Denison, with the McKinney portion traveling along Kentucky Street. The system operated for more than 40 years before closing, the city’s website states.

Jones said the city’s new trolley is numbered "151" in honor of the first trolley that operated downtown.

Jones noted city staff aimed to select a trolley that had a similar look to the interurban cars that operated from the 1930s to the 1950s. The design also inspired the new trolley’s paint scheme and signage, he said.

“We wanted to find the one model of the interurban that most people recognize,” he said.

Quote of note

“Downtown is unique because of its history, because of the unique architecture and also our independent small businesses,” Jones said. “[The trolley] helps us serve them and the community down here.”

Learn more

For more information about the new McKinney Downtown Trolley, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/3495/trolley.