MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After nearly four years, MATA hopes its rolling, rumbling Main Street trolleys will be back on track sometime this month.
MATA spent millions of dollars to make federally mandated repairs after two trolleys were destroyed by fire. Now trolley service could be just a few days away.
Monday, Trolley 453 was back rolling on the Main Street line as operator training and testing continued.
MATA has said it plans on resuming limited trolley service sometime in April. The transit agency had previously said they would be running by the end of 2017.
Tourists Bob and Kay from Phoenix were hoping to hop on the bright yellow trolley while visiting.
"We were looking at the routes and where it goes, but we just found out," they said. "We were interested to see if it would out to the zoo, but it doesn't.
So if we want to go to the zoo, we'll have to drive."
It's hard for out-of-towners to fully understand what trolley "withdrawal" means to Memphians.
"I'm sad that it stopped in the first place. I'm disappointed it took so long to get it back together," said Jake Schorr, owner of Westy's in the Pinch District.
He says he's counting on MATA management to "get it right" this time after two fires put the brakes on trolley service almost four years ago.
Schorr says since then, businesses up and down the trolley line have paid the price in lost revenue.
"I'm a very small place. I'm only one place. And when you add up 30, 50 and 60 other places on the trolley line, there's no telling what the economic loss is from not having a trolley. "
Schorr hopes an energized trolley system will bring riders and dollars back.
"Everybody I've talked to, that's working for MATA, understands how important it is for the city."
MATA has not announced a specific date for launching trolley service on Main Street.