If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get around Memphis, this is your lucky day. After a long absence, the trolleys are back! Here’s your guide to our new favorite method of exploring Downtown Memphis.
Welcoming back the trolley
The Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system began running in 1993. Although the trolleys enjoyed a 21-year run of shuffling locals and tourists through the heart of the city, they haven’t operated in Memphis since 2014, when service was suspended after fires broke out on two cars.
Lucky for us, after extensive repairs, renovations and refurbishment, the trolleys are back! Memphians and visitors alike can once again experience the romance of a vintage trolley car ride along Main Street.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural ride on the new trolley system took place on April 30, 2018. Initially, three trolley cars will be in service (a green car, a gold car, and a blue-and-white two-tone car), with more to be added throughout the year. Before you know it, these colorful cars will be a common sight in Memphis, and their whistles blowing will be a familiar sound.
2018 Memphis trolley guide
For now, one trolley line—the Main Street Line—is in operation, running from Butler Avenue to A.W. Willis Avenue past the Convention Center. The Riverfront Line and the Madison Avenue Line will return in the coming years.
The trolleys make 13 stops along the Main Street Line, many of them sheltered, and cars will run once every 20 to 30 minutes depending on the day of the week. A map of the route is available here along with information on the coming-soon Riverfront and Madison Ave. lines, while the MATA website offers details on trolley fares and passes. At the time of publication, a ride on the trolley costs $1 and you can get a day pass for $3.50.
Are the trolleys fast? Well, not exactly. But they are fun, reliable, stylish and will get you from A to B a heck of a lot faster than walking. To be more specific, traveling from one end of downtown to the other via trolley takes half an hour or less.
If nothing else, the experience of rolling through Memphis aboard a vintage trolley car sporting an antique-looking interior and wooden seats is an experience that every visitor to Memphis should have at least once. And if you happen to live here, the trolleys are a great option for getting around and seeing our city in a new way.
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