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Delmar Loop Trolley to resume service this summer

A Bi-State spokeswoman said the train will not run seven days a week and they still don't know if tickets will be free.

ST. LOUIS — The Loop Trolley will return to service this summer with a new operator.

Bi-State Development, which operates Metro Transit and MetroLink, confirmed Wednesday it plans to begin Loop Trolley operations on Aug. 4. In a statement, a Bi-State spokeswoman said the trolley will not run seven days a week and they still don't know if tickets will be free.

The trolley opened in November of 2018 after years of delays. On Dec. 29, 2019, it ended operations after low ridership. 

The Loop Trolley had sold about 17,000 fares since it launched, according to numbers compiled by the St. Louis Business Journal and 5 On Your Side. Regional government officials initially thought the trolley could see 400,000 riders in its first year.

The Federal Transit Administration in December of 2021 threatened to force St. Louis to repay federal grants used to construct the $52 million trolley if the trolley was not running by June. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has said that could cost $22 million.

In February, Bi-State Development's board endorsed a plan, for the transit agency to contract with the taxing district that built the trolley to run the 2.2-mile streetcar system. That would put an end to a nonprofit, the Loop Trolley Co., running the trolley, which shut down in 2019 amid low ridership.

A few days later, Jones sent a letter to the FTA with more details about the plan, saying that the trolley, utilizing at least two vehicles, would operate four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, for eight hours each day.

It's unclear if that schedule is still being considered.

A statement from Bi-State Development on Wednesday is as follows:

"Bi-State Development confirmed it plans to begin Loop Trolley operations on August 4. Bi-State Development President and CEO Taulby Roach said the operating plan was presented earlier this month to the regional administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. Since no objections were voiced at that time, Bi-State Development will move forward. Roach said the FTA official expressed his appreciation for Bi-State Development preparing to get the Loop Trolley asset back up and running. Roach has said the Loop Trolley would not be in operation seven days a week and previous discussions focused around weekend operations with shortened daily hours. The schedule is not been finalized at this time and it has not been determined yet if tickets will be sold to ride the Loop Trolley or if it will be free service in the Delmar Loop."

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