Main Street trolleys set to return April 30

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's taken nearly four years and $10 million, but trolleys are just days away from returning to Downtown Memphis.

MATA officials announced Monday that the trolleys would officially be up and running April 30.

"The work that went into these trolleys is almost superhuman," MATA CEO Gary Rosenfield said.

MATA said trolley rides will be free from April 30 until May 14. After that, trips will cost $1 each way.

"A trolley system restart of this nature has never been done in this country to date," Rosenfield said.

Memphis' iconic trolley system was shut down in June 2014 after a series of fires on the century-old cars.

The trolley cars have been overhauled and the whole system re-engineered with modern safety upgrades.

Rosenfield said mechanics have been re-certified and drivers have spent thousands of hours training.

Recent trolley tests yielded no major issues, so all signs point to a smooth launch.

"The demands from the public are a safe system that they can rely on, and that's what we are going to provide for them," Rosenfield said.

The effort hasn't come cheap. Rosenfield estimates the price tag at $10 million. He said the investment is worth it for the city--with estimates that show half the trolley's 1.5 million riders are tourists.

"We are excited to bring this back. It will clearly benefit the businesses along the South Main corridor and the whole Main Street corridor," Rosenfield said.

The Main Street line is the only trolley line that will be active come April 30. The Riverside line is expected to resume service in 2019; The Madison line is expected to resume service in late 2019 or early 2020.

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