FARMINGTON — Contemporary with a historic nuance, there’s a new transit option for people looking to ferry around Farmington’s flourishing downtown shopping and business district.
And it’s free.
The Utah Transit Authority and Farmington City have begun a new trolley service, which connects the Station Park shopping center in the more recently developed section of the city, with the Lagoon amusement park in the historic part of town.
The trolley, which replaces UTA’s Route 667 bus service, is a year-round, fixed-route that runs between the Farmington FrontRunner Station and the amusement park, stopping at key spots like the shopping plaza, the Hampton Inn and Main Street.
Trimmed in green and gold, the fire-engine red trolley is manufactured by the Gillig Corporation and features solid oak seats and brass stanchions. It looks like the classic, old-school trolley but runs like a standard transit bus.
“We have a great heritage and we value the historic elements of our community while embracing the benefits of the future,” said Farmington Economic Development Director Brigham Mellor. “This trolley bus is a visual representation of that effort.”
The new service relies on funding generated by the Prop 1 initiative. The measure, which was passed by voters in November 2015, provides counties that approved it with annual dollars for road projects, sidewalks, bike and pedestrian paths, and increased mass transit service. The local-option tax was on the ballot in 17 of Utah’s 29 counties, passing in 10.
Voters in Weber and Davis counties passed the tax, but it failed in Morgan and Box Elder counties. The tax doesn’t apply to medical bills, utilities, mortgages, loan payments, gas, prescriptions or groceries.
Forty percent of the total revenue collected goes to cities, 40 percent goes to UTA and 20 percent goes to counties.
Mellor said the route is the only safe option for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Interstate 15 at Park Lane because there are no sidewalks in the area and a limited road shoulder. He said an average of about 12,000 people visit Farmington daily, mostly venturing to Station Park or Lagoon.
With that kind of traffic, Farmington and UTA officials expect the route to be well-used now and into the future. The city is also planning a new business park north of the shopping center and anticipates 10,000 employees there by the time it’s built out.
UTA will eventually operate four of the historic trolley-style buses, servicing various routes in Davis and Weber counties.
A similar trolley shuttle exits in Layton. The Midtown Trolley there (also free) runs between the Clearfield and Layton FrontRunner stations and serves nearby hotels and restaurants, the Layton Hills Mall, the Davis Hospital and Medical Center, the Tanner Clinic, the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Davis Conference Center.
In October, during a press conference on the route, UTA interim executive director Steve Meyer said the Layton trolley has performed well, with ridership nearly doubling since it went into service in 2016. The route now carries an average nearly 500 daily riders.