The Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce board of directors learned March 16 that the Longboat Key Trolley operated by the Manatee County Area Transit and the Sarasota County Area Transit is in jeopardy of being dropped for lack of use. The fare-free Island Trolley funding, meanwhile, is safe this year and the next two fiscal years that begin Oct. 1.
“Everything is good for the (Island) trolley as long as grants keep coming from the state,” Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker told board members.
The grants, along with county funds and contributions from the Island, are enough to keep the trolley operating as a free service for the next three years, MCAT manager Ralf Heseler said in early March.
David Teitelbaum, who was recently reappointed to the board, organized the chamber’s advertising program for the Island trolleys. He said the five new trolleys coming are longer than the previous trolleys and have an improved antique-look inside.
That means there’s more space for advertising, he said.
Teitelbaum is preparing a new advertising contract for businesses. In the interim, the current ads on the trolleys remain at no charge.
He’s also developing a new marketing plan and has several new advertisers ready to roll out on the new trolleys.
Revenue from ad sales on the trolleys is used to partially fund the service, which first began operation on AMI in March 2002.