July 16, 2019
Visitors to Historic Yorktown may now enjoy an upgraded passenger experience when riding the newest addition to the County's fleet of trolleys. Acquired within the past few weeks, the new vehicle features an infotainment system, adjustable air vents at each seat, a stabilized chassis system, and, perhaps most anxiously awaited by passengers and County staff, connection to SPOT ETA - a tracking program that indicates the trolley's location and estimated time of arrival at various attractions.
"This new trolley is the first on the peninsula to deploy an interactive tracking system," says Josh Green, Fleet Manager in the County's Department of Public Works. "The system allows visitors to watch the trolley's progress along its route to help determine when it will arrive at their specific stop."
Darren Williams, Waterfront Operations Supervisor with York County's Tourism Office (of the Department of Community Services), adds "With this new tracking system, visitors don't have to wonder if they've just missed the trolley or if it will arrive in a few minutes. Also, the map is interactive, meaning anyone utilizing it can tap on a featured location such as a museum and a pop-up will appear with hours of operation, admission fee, and so on."
SPOT ETA is available as an app for cell phones and a link to the site is available on the www.VisitYorktown.org website.
"Just like the trolley, the app is free," Green explains. "And we believe it will soon become an indispensable addition to our trolley system because, in addition to its tracking features, it allows the County to issue alerts that will appear on the screen if we need to reroute the trolley due to a planned event such as the 4th of July or Sounds of Summer concerts, or an unplanned incident like a vehicle breakdown that blocks the route."
The infotainment system airs prerecorded programs about Yorktown's attractions and upcoming events, with concert and market dates showing up between programs.
"This system is geo-activated based on location," Williams states. "The system can be programmed so that as we approach an attraction, the infotainment screens will show announcements about that attraction. We're excited about the possibilities this brings to us to improve visitors' experience."
Another first: This trolley was constructed by Hometown Trolley using Freightliner's new StabiliTrak Chassis. This chassis was the very first off of the assembly line that blends the commercial and RV chassis, a new combination for both companies. What does this mean?
"This is a breakthrough in transit operations," says Green. "This trolley has better stabilization because of the work of these two manufacturers, so the riders will experience minimal rocking when the trolley takes a corner and fewer bumps along the route. Also, the trolley was constructed to be much quieter than our other trolleys for people riding as well as those walking in Yorktown when the trolley passes by. It's a real treat to have it in our fleet and to bring it to York County."
Visitors will appreciate the individualized heating and cooling air vents at each seat, a feature the County hopes to have included on future trolleys as the vehicles are replaced as part of its regular maintenance schedule.
"The Yorktown Trolley has become an attraction by itself," Williams says. "There is no cost to ride it and people often hop on the trolley to learn more about the town, determine the attractions they'd like to visit, where they would like to dine, and so on."
The second Yorktown Trolley is not yet equipped with the SPOT ETA and infotainment systems, but it too will have these features by spring 2020.
This new trolley and its enhanced features are the result of the partnership between the Department of Public Works' Vehicle Maintenance Division and the Community Services Department's Tourism Office. For more information, please call York County Public Affairs at (757) 890-3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.