GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The city of Greenville is expanding their public transportation.
The city partnered with the Greenville Transit Authority to increase the routes of on the trolley which they say is their most popular service. The new rides start Thursday evening at 6:00pm.
“This is a glimpse into the future of public transportation in Greenville,” Greenville Mayor Knox White said.
The trolley which is funded by the city’s hospitality tax will now go from downtown to the North Main Street neighborhoods, over to the Augusta Road retail area and the West Greenville village.
“Giving those neighborhoods an opportunity to connect back to downtown and giving tourists an opportunity to connect to those areas,” said Addy Matney, the Greenville Transit Authority Board Chair.
Officials are hoping the trolley which runs Thursday to Sunday will get more cars off the road downtown.
“Maybe helping alleviate some of the parking issues that we have in our downtown area,” Matney said.
They also said the transportation option will help the elderly and poor.
“The fact that it’s free will give people an opportunity to be more self-sufficient and enjoy,” said Greenville City Councilwoman Lillian Brock Flemming.
However, some who live in these neighborhoods say this could add to the negative impact of gentrification. The trolley will mean neighborhoods like West Greenville will become more visible and vibrant, but the more the neighborhood is built up means it could become too expensive for long-time residents on fixed incomes.
“It’s going to change things, it’s going to affect things in a negative way too, but I think it’s more positive than negative,” said Rev. Vardry Fleming, the West Greenville Neighborhood Association President.
Most are excited about the traffic it will bring to the area as well as the service it will provide to those who need it, but they also say gentrification is something that needs to be taken seriously.
“We have to temper any excitement we may have about growth in the community because there is some cost to it,” said Joseph Bradley who works in West Greenville.
Transit officials say in order to get on one of the trolleys, people do have to be standing at a specific stop. They won’t be able to flag the trolleys down.