Parking and Transportation (P&T) has announced that it will launch a new pilot program for the Tech Trolley. The program, which started Monday, Oct. 19, added an additional stop at the Midtown Publix on the corner of Peachtree Place and Spring Street.
The trolley will be stopping there starting at 6 p.m. on weekdays and during regular Trolley service hours on weekends. These hours were chosen to avoid rush hour because of safety concerns at the intersection.
“[There are] two significant reasons why we started the pilot Publix stop. One was we had the weekend grocery shuttle that we already do, but it got to its capacity and we wanted to find a way that we could allow students to get to the grocery store any day of the week that they wanted to go. Another thing was that SGA encouraged us to find a route which would allow students to go to the grocery store every day,” said Aaron Fowler, Alternative Transportation Coordinator.
“The intersection doesn’t have a light, so, just as a safety precaution, for now, we are doing the stop after rush hour so that the trolley has enough time to make the turn without the light there,” Fowler said.
The pilot programs will run until the end of the semester. Because it is only in the first few weeks of operation, P&T has yet to collect significant data on the stop’s usage. However, P&T intends to collect data on the number of students who use the stop, assess student support for the stop, and evaluate the safety concerns of stopping at the intersection. P&T will then decide whether the stop will become a permanent one for the trolley.
“So far there seems to be a lot of support from students. On the inaugural run, I hopped on the trolley, and when a student got off at the stop, another student turned to the driver and said, ‘It’s a great idea. I’m really glad that you guys are doing this.’ So I think as far as the students go, there is a good amount of support,” Fowler said.
The trolley drivers are also committed to helping the students. “I think the drivers are there for the best wishes for the students. We want to run the best routes we can,” said Fowler.
In addition to this new stop, P&T has other plans for the trolley as well. Another stop will also be added to the trolley route at the Academy of Medicine on the corner of West Peachtree Street and 7th Street. The academy building was acquired two years ago by Tech and is currently used as a special events space for student groups and outside parties. The trolley will begin stopping there starting Nov. 2 without installation of a pilot program.