Town Center Trolley, providing free rides on 4.1-mile route, now under The Woodlands Township ownership

Town Center Trolley
Town Center Trolley services are now under control of The Woodlands Township. (Courtesy The Woodlands Township)

Town Center Trolley services are now under control of The Woodlands Township. (Courtesy The Woodlands Township)

The Town Center Trolley is now under The Woodlands Township's control, the township announced in an Oct. 21 news release.

In April the township decided to take the service in-house, which was estimated to cost an additional $13,567 per year. The service provides free trolley rides on a 4.1-mile route through the Town Center area, which includes The Woodlands Mall, Market Street, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Hughes Landing.

The total cost of the program is $1.1 million, but after reimbursements from the Federal Transit Administration and hotel occupancy tax contributions, the net cost to the township is $555,002, township officials said in April.

The township took over ownership from the Brazos Transit District, and nine full-time employees will become township employees, according to the April agenda and Oct. 21 news release.

In April, township projections stated that Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds could potentially be used to cover any shortfall that might occur due to lower hotel taxes during the coronavirus pandemic.


"Considering the CARES Act will provide 100% funding for a period of time, it is recommended to move forward with the transfer of the BTD assets and trolley operations,” according to the April 22 agenda. “This will provide the Township the best option to have full control of the operation, maximize federal funding, and allow time for Township staff to evaluate the program first-hand.”

Benefits of bringing the operation in-house discussed in April included control over the assets, vehicles and property, although cons listed included additional management and liability.

Board of directors Chair Gordy Bunch said in a statement the service will continue to operate under safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we move into the holidays, we hope our residents and visitors will take advantage of being able to park their car in one location and use the trolley to get to other locations in the Town Center,” he said. “Most importantly, though, we want our visitors and guests know that we’re operating with very strong safety protocols.”

The township has also launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #SitSafe to reinforce the need for sanitization, personal protective equipment and social distancing on transit. According to the release, trolleys are cleaned regularly; face coverings are required for passengers and drivers; and passenger capacity is limited to allow for distancing.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

Montgomery County COVID-19 updates
Active COVID-19 cases double in Montgomery County since Nov. 17

Since Monday, active cases countywide have risen 13.1%, while four more deaths have been reported.

A project to widen Gosling Road across Spring Creek will go out to bid in early 2021. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
2 road projects to watch in The Woodlands area: FM 2978, Gosling Road bridge

Here's the latest on progress with construction on FM 2978, and when to expect road work on Gosling Road bridge.

(Courtesy Howard Hughes Corp.)
The Lane at Waterway announces mid-December opening

The new multifamily project offers 163 new residences in apartments and townhomes.

Doug Hooten was announced as the first executive director of Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 on Dec. 3. (Courtesy Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 hires first executive director

Doug Hooten has 35 years of experience in EMS, according to a Dec. 3 press release.

Baja Sur opened Dec. 1 in Creekside Park West. (Courtesy Baja Sur)
Baja Sur serves up fresh Tex-Mex cuisine in Creekside Park West

Baja Sur opened Dec. 1 in Creekside Park West.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met at the township building Dec. 2. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
COVID-19 patients in more than 15% of Montgomery County hospital beds; free testing seeing demand in The Woodlands

The percentage of COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds in Montgomery County was more than 15% in early December.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Dec. 2 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state of Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First allotment of COVID-19 vaccinations expected to arrive in Texas in mid-December

About 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been allotted to the state of Texas and will arrive the week of Dec. 14.

The East Montgomery County Industrial Park off Gene Campbell Road will welcome the Lowe's Distribution Center in July. (Courtesy East Montgomery County Improvement District)
Lowe's to bring 200 jobs to Montgomery County and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County Appraisal District launches new 'Appraiser Field Operations Map' tool

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood.

A new coronavirus testing site is coming to The Woodlands on Dec. 14. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Second free mobile coronavirus testing clinic coming to The Woodlands on Dec. 14

The free clinic from Curative will be available until Jan. 31, 2021.

The letter came a week after Longoria was virtually sworn into the office by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Nov. 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)
Harris County scrambles to make creation of Elections Administrator Office lawful after Attorney General's letter identifies deficiencies

Harris County is working to make right the appointment of Isabel Longoria as the county's first-ever elections administrator after County Attorney Vince Ryan received a letter Nov. 25 from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stating that the county did not follow the proper appointment process.

Gwen Sims first joined Harris County Public Health in 1997. (Courtesy Harris County Public Health)
Deputy Director Gwen Sims appointed interim executive director of Harris County Public Health

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously appointed Gwen Sims to serve as the interim executive director of Harris County Public Health in anticipation of Executive Director Umair Shah's departure Dec. 18.