Leave the car behind and jump aboard the Clearwater Jolley Trolley – actually, a bus that looks like a trolley car. It's an easy way to get to and from Clearwater's sandy beaches and downtown area. The trolley also carries passengers as far as Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs, making travel in the Florida area, located just west of Tampa, stress-free. Plus, the red and yellow trolley is fun to ride and worthy of a few photos. Just don't lean to0 far out the windows.
Jolley Trolley Routes
The Clearwater Jolley Trolley follows two routes: the Clearwater Beach Route and the Coastal Route. The Clearwater Beach Route takes a circular course, beginning and ending at the Publix stop and hitting 15 spots along the way. The first trolley leaves at 10 a.m. and ends its run at 10 p.m. during the week and at 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Select from the North Beach Route or the South Beach Route, depending on where you're headed.
The Coastal Route travels north and south, beginning at the Marina stop and ending at the Rusty Bellies stop. It opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. during the week and 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Check the website for a complete schedule and map of both routes.
How to Ride the Jolley Trolley
To ride the Jolley Trolley, purchase a ticket for the day or a pass that offers unlimited rides. Tickets can be bought with cash onboard and cost between $1.10 and $2.50 for a one-way fare. Unlimited Day Passes cost $2.50 to $5.00, while 3-Day Passes cost $5.00 to $10.00. Local residents can get a Weekly Pass or a Monthly Pass. Children 5 and under ride for free. All passes allow free transfer to PSTA (Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority) public buses and the Suncoast Trolley.
Board the Jolley Trolley at one of the designated stops, which are shared by PSTA buses. Unlike the buses, Jolley Trolley drivers are allowed to stop anywhere along the route, so it's okay to flag down a driver and hop onboard. Be sure the area is safe and clear of traffic before hailing the trolley. The trolleys run seven days a week, so they're always available. Ask the friendly drivers for recommendations on what to see in the area or where to eat. Most drivers are happy to point out sites of interest or share local history with passengers.
Rules and Considerations
All of the Jolley Trolleys are wheelchair accessible and allow bicycles on board, which must be attached to the front of the trolley. Only service animals are allowed on public transportation, so leave your pets at home. Avoid carrying open containers of alcohol, since they are prohibited in public in Clearwater.
The Jolley Trolley schedule can change based on local special events. Always check online ahead of time to ensure the schedule is correct. There's even a live online Trolley Tracker, which displays the current locations of all the trolleys. The website features special trolley deals, like rides to baseball spring training games. You can even book one of the trolleys for a private special event, like a wedding or office party.