Our pandemic prayers have been answered.
In a surprise announcement Friday, the brain trust behind the Loop Trolley, which once was thought to be dead
after years of delays and a spectacularly failed first year in business, announced the streetcar has crawled forth from the grave to offer free rides throughout the Delmar Loop in an effort to encourage people to come spend their money in the district during a pandemic.
Not since the days of the Spanish Flu have St. Louisans been able to clang about town in an old-timey streetcar while the threat of an airborne infectious disease lurks all around them. How nostalgic! How whimsical! How fun!
It's welcome news. At the start of lockdowns meant to control the spread of coronavirus, we at RFT admitted that we were wrong about the Loop Trolley
, which we'd by that point spent years ridiculing as it sucked down public funds that could likely have been better spent while forcing shops out of business due to its seemingly never-ending construction, all while hitting numerous cars and ultimately attracting such laughably little ridership that it was forced to cease operations within its first year (but not before its backers spent some time begging for more money, of course
In an age of social distancing, we reasoned, hanging out all by ourselves in a completely empty trolley car while navigating a two-mile stretch of Delmar sounded more fun that sitting in our homes and looking out our windows.
We could sit in there, one at a time, maybe two, a safe distance between us, slathered head to toe in hand sanitizer, and just stare vacantly into the distance at speeds approaching 21 miles per hour across some deserted streets. Sounds nice. Sounds quiet. Sounds peaceful.
Now, we're finally getting our wish.
The trolley will resume service starting this weekend, and will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday through July 26. KMOV reports
that there will be new safety measures in place, including:
-Regular temperature checks and screenings of Trolley personnel.
-All Trolley operators and passengers are required to wear masks.
-All boarding/alighting will occur from the rear door, except when a passenger requires the front door wheelchair lift.
-All windows open, weather-permitting
-Pre-service and mid-service cleaning/sanitization of Trolley passenger areas.
-Hand sanitizer stations installed in each Trolley.
There's no word on whether social distancing will be a part of these new safety measures, but as anyone who has ever seen the thing in action can attest, it's not likely to be an issue anyway.
Welcome back, Loop Trolley! Finally, some good news in these trying times.
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