GROSSE POINTE PARK – The K-Line Trolley is returning to Kercheval on Friday, August 27th, to add some San Francisco charm to the Pointes after a two-year hiatus.
The trolleys were shut down after five years of service for the 2020 summer season due to COVID-19. In 2021, unexpected mechanical issues occurred and the city faced potential concerns about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city finally decided to auction the beloved trolleys.
“Families have loved to ride the trolleys for many reasons,” said a statement from the board members of the Grosse Pointe Park Business Association. “The sense of community that has strengthened them, the ease of getting in and out and the ability to shop and eat in a variety of shops in Kercheval. Every summer over 10,000 passengers used the trolleys during the main dinner times from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., an average of more than 500 passengers on every Friday or Saturday evening.
“Unfortunately,” the statement added, “the trolleys were discontinued in 2020 due to COVID, and this year’s staff and budget constraints have put the trolleys up for auction.”
The GPPBA, some candidates for Park City Council, and invested residents swept in to save the trolleys at auction before they were taken out of the Pointes forever.
At a meet-and-greet event for the community council candidates in Atwater in the park, those involved held discussions on how to revive the trolley system. They attracted advertisers including Belding Cleaners, Ed Rinke Chevrolet Buick GMC, The Bricks Pizzeria, The Zealous Root, Atwater in the Park, Red Crown and the Grosse Pointe News. Local residents also donated to the cause. The group received enough money to keep the trolley service running until the end of this season, although the new owners don’t see the trolleys leaving Pointes anytime soon.
“Our goal is to achieve the same free service in the next year and to upgrade our trolleys if necessary to keep the wheels running,” said a statement by GPPBA board members.
From Friday, August 27th – just in time for the finals of the park after 6 on Kercheval of the year – the trolley service will run as usual from Wayburn in the park to Stephens in the Farms through Kercheval from 5 p.m. and running until 11 p.m. Trolleys will be every weekend from Friday and Saturday to Sunday, October 31st, “if the number of passengers remains high,” according to the group.
The group expects the drivers to use an app to track the trolleys and locate where to jump on board.
Due to previous concerns about ADA compliance, a trolley is being upgraded to be compatible for drivers with disabilities, although research has shown that the trolleys are not in violation of the ADA, according to Joe Hebeka, GPPBA president.