New Trolley Clangs and Dings to Technology Square
New Alternative Fuel Trolleys Feature a New Route, Better Service to MARTA, and A Pilot GPS Tracking System
Posted July 25, 2003 | Atlanta
Soon, the ding, ding of the trolley will be heard across campus as the new Technology Square trolley hits the road. The new rubber tired, alternative fuel vehicles, designed to look like old-fashioned trolleys with wooden seats and even a bell, begin clanging and dinging their way to Technology Square on August 4. The air-conditioned trolleys fueled by compressed natural gas will run on the new yellow route, providing more frequent service from the center of campus to Technology Square, then to the Midtown MARTA station.
"Since we'll have more trolleys than we had buses on this redesigned yellow route, the trolley will run every four minutes; plus, we'll have fewer delays because we'll have back-up units, which we've never had before," said Bob Furniss, director, Parking & Transportation. "We want this trolley to be so convenient that people will want to hop on the trolley and not bother with driving over to Technology Square."
Starting at the new turn-around circle located across the street from the new Health Services building, the trolley will drive around Ferst Drive to Fifth Street, cross the Interstate, stop mid-block before Spring Street, stop at the circle in front of the new Management building, then turn left onto West Peachtree to the Midtown MARTA station. The trolley will return to campus via Spring Street to Fifth Street to Ferst Drive. The eight new trolleys will provide service every four minutes, ensuring quick rides for the many students, faculty and staff needing to shop at the new Barnes & Nobles at Georgia Tech bookstore, attend classes at the new Management building, and shop and visit the rest of the newly opened Technology Square. In addition, the Midtown community and visitors are invited to use the trolley as well.
"Anyone can get on the trolley. We do not require an I.D., so visitors to Georgia Tech and Midtown can come to Technology Square direct from the airport. They can ride MARTA and board the trolley at the Midtown station," said Furniss. " Guests of the new Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center will find this particularly convenient."
In addition to the new, quaint trolleys, the fleet of regular buses for the Stinger service will be replaced in September with new, highly efficient diesel buses. The new fleet also will have extra back-up buses, which will reduce delays due to mechanical problems. With the new buses and trolleys, Georgia Tech surpasses the state mandate of 40 percent alternative fuel vehicles in the entire fleet.
"When we renegotiated the contract with the vendor providing transportation services for the campus, we were able to add some requirements, including monitoring and data collection, to ensure more reliable service," said Furniss. "Our vendor, Cognisa, made a serious commitment to honor those terms and provide the new, more efficient vehicles for all the routes."
The trolleys will also sport a pilot GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking system to tell riders waiting at four major bus stops when the next trolley will arrive. The four stops will have an electronic sign indicating how many minutes until the next trolley arrives. Riders will also be able to view this information online on computers or PDAs. Over the next two semesters, Parking & Transportation will assess whether to continue and expand the system to the rest of the fleet.
The Red, Blue and Green Stinger routes have few changes from last year, except for more reliable service due to the extra buses. The frequency on the Green route, which runs through Home Park to GCATT (Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology) on 14th Street, is much improved with the wait reduced to 15 minutes, from 30 minutes last year. The Red and Blue loops, which circle the campus, have a seven-minute wait.
Riders can view the most current routes and updated schedules for the trolley (Yellow route), and Stinger routes online in the Transportation folder on the Parking & Transportation website: http://www.parking.gatech.edu/ie_home.html
Parking at Technology Square
The new trolley is designed to minimize the need for the campus community to drive to Technology Square. However, the new Technology Square deck with 1,550 parking spaces is available. This deck is gated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and during business hours charges an hourly fee for non-permit holders. From 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, drivers without a permit for that deck will have to pay an hourly fee. After 5 p.m. on weekdays and during weekends, anyone with a Georgia Tech parking permit and a Georgia Tech Buzz Card will be able to park for free. The only exception to free weekend parking will be Saturday football games and large special events. In addition, metered parking spaces along 5th Street and Spring Street are designed to be used by visitors to the retailers in Technology Square and will be strictly enforced.