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Trolleys on tires in five Arizona cities.

Trolleys on tires in five Arizona cities

Some of the special charms of trolley cars, extinct in Arizona for nearly four decades, are once again becoming part of cities in the southern part of the state. Gas-powered and on tires this time around, they's appearing in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Sun City, and this summer Prescott.

Aside from their nostalgic appeal, these vehicles are helping to relieve urban automobile congestion. And they're an excellent way for touring visitors to get around.

Tucson is the only Arizona city to hold the hope of resurrecting an electric-powered trolley on tracks. There, members of the nonprofit Old Pueblo Trolley group are awaiting results of a feasibility study. If it's favorable, and if city leaders buy the idea, residents could vote in May on a bond issue to fund a 2-mile line between the Convention Center and the University of Arizona campus.

Meanwhile, Phoenix can boast new-this-winter wheel-trolley service (we show the route in the map on page 76). Two oak-paneled cars are handsomely trimmed with brass and etched glass. Fares are only a quarter. Street signs mark official stops, though you can flag down the trolley anywhere. It goes through April, resumming November 1. There's no service on rainy days, holidays, or Sundays.

Here are Arizona's other trolleys:

Mesa. November through March, a trolley operates from 9 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays. Its 26-mile route starts at Power Road and Main Street, runs along Main to Country Club Drive, then heads west on Southern Avenue past a series of malls, including the very large Fiesta Mall. You pay $1 to ride.

Scottsdale. Four trolleys make the rounds of numerous Scottsdale resorts and shopping centers, 9 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 Sundays. Service, in its fourth year, runs October 1 through late May; all rides are free. You should have to wait no longer than 15 minutes for a downtown trolley. Stops at outlying resorts and shopping centers are hourly. Downtown merchants have route maps and schedules, also available from Molly Corp., 7223 E. Second Street, Scottsdale 85251, and at the chamber of commerce at Scottsdale Mall.

Sun City. New this year are two free trolleys, which follow a 7-mile rectangular route connecting major retail areas. Due to continue through May, service runs 9 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays. First stop is at 99th and Grand avenues, then the trolleys go north on 99th to Bell Road, west to Del Webb Boulevard, and south to Peoria.

Prescott. A trial trolley run last summer proved so successful that the nonprofit Northern Arizona Transit Authority won a $200,000 federal grant to launch a system combining trolleys and buses to run downtown year-round and connect with buses operating within a 20-mile radius of Prescott. Service for at least part of the system is expected to begin by June 1. For more news, write to NATA, Inc., Box 1028, Prescott 86302.

Photo: Mike in hand, driver can narrate sights to Scottsdale passengers. Below, balloons lend festivity to Phoenix's new trolley-on-tires

Photo: Phoenix trolley starts first run at Patriots Park at 10 A.M. Monday through Saturday; final run goes at 5:30. The 7-mile, 60-minute route gives easy access to shopping centers and museums

Photo: Barbershop quartet diverts passengers along Phoenix route. Such entertainment is an occasional bonus on the pleasant ride
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Date:Mar 1, 1984
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