The trolley system that makes its way through Town Center is under review as The Woodlands Township tests a new route.
The trial period, which will last through June, consists of two trolleys that run from Monday through Thursday. As part of the test route, trolleys go to a drop-off location along Lake Robbins Drive instead of The Woodlands Mall valet drop-off location. The new route also combines two stops by the South Regional Branch Library that were in proximity before.
“The new route is a major improvement, but we’re still in the early stages,” township Director Gordy Bunch said. “By not going to the mall now, it’s working out well. The trolley at The Woodlands Mall valet drop-off would cause congestion.”
Transit program manager Chris LaRue provided details about the goals of the trolley system at the Feb. 17 Woodlands Township board of directors planning session.
“[Objectives are] to improve Town Center customer experience regarding mobility and connectivity and connect customers to hotels, shopping and entertainment,” he said.
Bunch said the township will be looking at data compiled by the trial trolley route to see where people are getting on and off, what times people are taking the trolleys and to look at schedule optimization.
“As of right now, the trolleys have taken less time to circulate, and ridership is increasing,” Bunch said. “We’ll be looking at the data after June, and the board needs to review as a whole. We want to have a much more refined schedule and be prudent about it.”
Bunch said if the data from the pilot route proves there is a positive effect by adding more trolleys, there is a possibility that trolley routes could be expanded to Hughes Landing as well. Also, another trolley might be added on weekends during peak times to help with potential congestion as more people come to The Woodlands, he said.
The free trolleys operate daily for about nine hours. The township funds half of the operating costs for the trolleys, and the Federal Transit Administration pays the other half through a grant awarded to the township.
However, Bunch said once the township begins the budget process later this summer, the board of directors will also discuss the possibility of having The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau fund the operation in the future.
All trolleys are owned and operated by the Brazos Transit District.