July 2018

Catch the Breeze: Got a dollar in your pocket and a place to be? Get on the trolley.

Author: Barry Kaufman

Ah, summer on Hilton Head Island. That majestic time of year when the trade winds blow, the sun sticks around for a few more hours every day, and “This idiot won’t let me into his lane; Can you not see my blinker?!”

So, there might be a traffic issue here. That tends to happen when half the populations of Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania all descend on the same tiny little sliver of paradise for three months. But help is on the way.
Soon, that ocean of cars shuttling locals and visitors from beach to beach will be replaced by a single eye-catching trolley, decked out in old-fashioned finery, a dazzling green-and-light gray paint scheme and two words emblazoned on its side: The Breeze.

Operated by the Lowcountry Regional Transportation Authority, these trolleys will crisscross the island, stopping at some of the most exciting destinations. At press time, the exact route was being pinned down, but the six stops on the circuit had already been decided. The Breeze will begin its circuit at the fountain at Shelter Cove Community Park, head down to Shelter Cove Harbour near the statue of King Neptune, blow down to Park Plaza, stop at Deallyon and Cordillo, then Deallyon and South Forest Beach Drive, before heading to the Coligny district for a stop near the circle.

In addition to the pre-set stops, riders are permitted to request stops along the route at any point where it is safe for the trolley operator to stop.

And the best part? A ride on The Breeze will only cost a buck, regardless of the destination. Just need a lift over to the other side of Shelter Cove? One dollar. Want to ride the thing all day, people watching? One dollar. Maybe consider other hobbies. Although seeing as it offers air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, you might be onto something there.

You can either pay in cash, or you’ll have the option to pre-purchase your fare using a mobile app, which will be rolled out later. It’s a high-tech way to jump on a decidedly throwback trolley, marked by nostalgia-inducing wood interiors and an old-school design ripped straight from Disney World’s Main Street USA.

As a transportation solution, it’s ideal. Trolleys will run every half hour at first, with another trolley coming on-line eventually to bring that time down somewhat. And when you combine the route it takes with the miles and miles of bike paths running across Hilton Head Island and the bike rack on board each trolley with space for two bikes, you have a way to see every point of Hilton Head Island without ever touching your car keys.

The service will begin each day, Sunday through Saturday, at 9 a.m., ending at 7 p.m. On Tuesdays, the trolleys will run late to take visitors to and from the weekly fireworks displays at Shelter Cove Harbour.

For more information, visit palmettobreezetransit.com.

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