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T tries trolley tracking technology

People downtown who want to ride Molly the Trolley can now access a website to determine when the next trolley will arrive.

In Septemer, the free rubber-tire trolley service began serving 12 downtown stops every 10 minutes, Fort Worth Transportation Authority spokeswoman Joan Hunter said. Previously, the distinctive green trolleys — which were launched about five years ago — stopped about every 15 minutes.

In addition to making the service more frequent, transit officials are aiming to make it easier for customers to understand how long they’ll have to wait at a downtown curb for a ride.

The authority, also known as the T, entered into a $93,724 contract in May with NextBus. Customers can go to nextbus.com with any computer device including a smartphone and find out how many minutes it will be before the next trolley arrives.

“Even though waits for the next Molly are short, we believe that knowing if a trolley has just left and when the next trolley will arrive are important to enhance the positive experience of using a circulator service,” T President Paul Ballard said in an email.

The contract with NextBus, which is part of Cubic Transportation Systems of San Diego, is for five years.

A similar service providing real-time arrival information for the T’s popular Spur bus line from downtown to east Fort Worth was launched in 2012, Hunter said.

Molly the Trolley is a partnership comprising the T, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Sundance Square.

“Since it began in May 2009, Molly the Trolley has been extremely popular with downtown employees, residents and visitors and also makes it especially easy for the downtown workforce to move around,” said Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

Molly the Trolley runs in a loop from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a dozen stops near downtown hotels, Sundance Square, the Water Gardens and other attractions.

A separate Molly the Trolley service, the Burnett Plaza Lunch Line, runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays from the west side of downtown to Sundance Square.

The trolleys are known for their charm, comfort and customer-friendly drivers. Fort Worth and Tarrant County officials began discussions this year on extending Molly the Trolley service to other areas, including the trendy West Seventh Street area near Montgomery Plaza and the Medical District.

The trolley carried 98,959 riders in 2013, the T reported..

THE T SERVICES

For information about Molly the Trolley and other T services visit The-T.com or call 817-215-8600.

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