Downtown Sioux Falls: Trolley Could Idle If They Don’t Raise $32K

Downtown Sioux Falls needs your help. If the organization doesn’t come up with enough money, the trolley service that runs through the heart of the city during the summer could idle.

“When you hear that clang and see it driving down the street, you know it’s that time of the year,” said Brienne Manor with Downtown Sioux Falls.

From Falls Park to Phillips Avenue, these green machines are a fixture in downtown Sioux Falls.

“The picture of the trolley is in people’s minds when they think of about DTSF. It’s become this icon,” said Manor.

But the trolleys might have to sit this season out, if Downtown Sioux Falls can’t raise enough funds. The city of Sioux Falls started phasing out the service a few years ago, with Downtown Sioux Falls assuming the responsibility. 2015 was the last year the trolley received financial support from the city.  The owner of Stellar Limousine, who operates the trolleys, says it doesn’t come cheap.

“It’s a very expensive venture. Insurance is extremely high, maintenance, that’s ongoing. It seems like there’s always something that needs to be worked on and then you have your fuel and driver expenses,” said Tom Olson with Stellar Limousine in Sioux Falls.
 
Even if they cut down on hours, total expenses would be around $52,000. At the minimum, after raising fares from $1 to $2, they would need $32,000.

Manor said, “If we reach our ultimate goal which is more around the 60,000 level, we’ll keep it the way it is.”

If it doesn’t happen, the organization says the experience and money coming into downtown may suffer, as 70 percent of their ridership comes from out of town visitors.

“We’ve already had calls this season with folks that want to know when the trolley started or has it started, they want to ride,” said Olson. “I know there’s going to be a lot of disappointed people if it does not.”

Downtown Sioux Falls needs to raise the money by May 27. So far, they have about 25 percent. To find out how you can donate, click here.