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San Clemente Journal

Six Reasons to Ride the Trolley

Aug 20, 2019 12:24PM ● By Rebecca Parsons
by Rebecca Parsons

The San Clemente Trolley was first implemented in 2016, making this summer its fourth year in operation. The trolley was originally funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), which covers the majority of the costs associated with operating the trolley, while the city pays for the rest. Additionally, The Friends of the San Clemente Beaches, Parks, & Recreation Foundation initially provided a $10,000 donation to help get the free service up and running.

Today, the trolley runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend and includes two lines: the red line and the blue line. The red line covers the south side of town and contains nine northbound stops as well as nine southbound stops. The blue line covers the north side of town and connects with the Dana Point trolley system-it consists of seven northbound stops and five southbound stops. Trolleys are free and riders can expect the vehicles to arrive every fifteen minutes at clearly marked stops (real time trolley tracking is available at the San Clemente Trolley’s website). Below, we’ve rounded up six reasons why you should take advantage of the trolley system this summer. 

It’s Free
Who doesn’t like free things? Rhetorical question but the answer is nobody. The trolley is completely free, meaning it is actually cheaper for you to ride than to take your own vehicle or even to carpool with friends … case and point.

Explore New Places
You probably have places in town that are your go-to spots—beaches you frequently visit, restaurants you typically dine at, or routes you’re accustomed to taking while driving. It’s possible to live in one place your entire life and still leave stones unturned and places yet to be discovered. While riding the trolley, you may accidentally get off at the wrong stop or decide to get off at a stop you weren’t planning on, allowing you to explore a part of town that you aren’t well acquainted with. You may even discover a new favorite “spot” during the process. 

Pizza Party
What does riding the trolley have to do with pizza you might ask … nothing, and everything. This summer, Blaze Pizza, conveniently located along the trolley route at the San Clemente Outlets, is offering a special deal to all trolley riders. In an effort to protect the environment and encourage locals to drive less, Blaze is offering trolley riders 10% off their entire purchase. Simply share a selfie of your trolley ride on social media and use the hashtags #sanclementetrolley and #blazepizzasc to redeem. What says summer better than pizza at a discount?

Make New Friends
Between technology and every household owning its own car (or three!) … so much of the social interactions that once existed in our seaside town have been lost. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s hard to find time to make new friends, or even get together with the ones you already have! The trolley provides a perfect platform for socializing with your friends and even potentially making new ones while simultaneously getting from point A to point B. Be bold. Sit down next to a stranger and strike up a conversation-you might meet someone from out of town with a cool story to share or you may even wind up making a lifelong friend.

Skip the Parking
Parking at the beach in the summer is not a good time-there’s no ifs ands, or buts about it. Firing the kids up for a day at the beach only to find yourself circling the lot for an hour to find the perfect spot is a less than an ideal situation. Not to mention, the constant trips back and fourth to the meter and the possibility of acquiring a sky-high ticket should you let your guard down for mere minutes. When you take the trolley, you simply board at your stop, get off at your destination, and then do the jig in reverse when you’re ready to return home after a day of adventures.

Save the Planet
Perhaps the biggest draw of the trolley is the positive impact it has on the environment. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are the burning of fossil fuels for transportation, electricity, and heat, with transportation taking the cake at a whopping 29%. While the trolley is not immune to carbon emissions, it can hold many more people than a single-family car, resulting in fewer cars on the road and less greenhouse gases being emitted. By taking the trolley, the amount of traffic on the road is also reduced, a huge culprit of greenhouse gas emissions.