LAYTON — The Utah Transit Authority's Midtown Trolley in Layton now has the equipment to back up its name.
On Monday, UTA unveiled the first of what will eventually be four new historic trolley-style buses that will be put into service on routes in Davis and Weber counties.
Local elected officials and representatives from several Layton-area businesses took an inaugural ride on the region's first trolley bus as it went into service on UTA's Route 628, the Layton Midtown Trolley.
UTA launched the service in the fall of 2016. The free bus route 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.
Steve Meyer, UTA's interim executive director, said the route's ridership has nearly doubled since it went into service in 2016, and now carries an average of 442 daily riders.
Though the city, Davis County and several businesses have contributed to the project to allow the free fares, Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson said the route came to fruition thanks in large part to the passing of Prop 1.
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.
"This is one of the best examples of growth taking place and partnerships forming — amongst not only the business community, but the city and county," Stevenson said. "And ... the voters. The Prop 1 monies were put into place by the voters and that was a huge part in bringing this to pass."
Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn, echoed Stevenson's sentiments, saying the new trolley is a "marker of what this route is all about."
"This is the capstone of what the voters put into place," Millburn said. "Now we have a visual of what your vote and what your dollars are going towards."
Red, with gold and green trim, the UTA trolley's are manufactured by the Gillig Corporation. The vehicles have solid oak seats and brass stanchions which according to the Gillig website, “combines classic trolley appeal with the quality and contemporary features of our standard transit bus.”
"They are really one of a kind," Meyer said. "We think they'll become an icon of the city."