A familiar sight and sound is greeting visitors to Main Street in the city of St. Charles.
The sight is “Lewis,” the name of the primary St. Charles Trolley, and the sound is its bell, which has been silent for six years.
The trolley is a decorated motorized and rubber-tired small bus that is providing free transportation mostly for visitors who come to St. Charles to see attractions and shop in and around along the historic area of the city near the Missouri River.
The trolley service began rides on March 15 and will run through Dec. 31. The trolley travels a 30-minute loop with eight stops at the Streets of St. Charles, Ameristar Casino, Country Inn and Suites, Main Street, Foundry Arts Center, Frenchtown, Bass Pro Shops and the St. Charles Convention Center.
It’s coming back after being phased out in 2010 because tourism is on the rise in the city and the need to an alternative to parking in the area, said Mayor Sally Faith.
“The concept is trying to bring people together,” Faith said after cutting a ribbon on March 14 at an opening ceremony marking the trolley’s return. “We have a lot of stuff and a lot of people and we need to let them know.”
The St. Charles City Council agreed last year to include $200,000 in its budget for the trolley service, which had been dropped 2010 as part of budget cuts. Faith said the service is also receiving some financial support from companies and other sources.
Advertising for the trolley also being placed on the St. Charles Area Transit system buses that transport commuters in portions of the city and to and from the Metrolink North Hanley Station in St. Louis County.
“We’re getting out the word,” Faith said.
Getting the word out may help those commuters find a parking spot near a trolley pick up point. Faith said some employees at area businesses as well as tourists will utilize the trolley.