BY VICTORIA MOORE
The Fredericksburg Arts Commission (FAC) began running trolleys on the first Friday of the month from 6-9 p.m. that will take students to downtown Fredericksburg with stops near art galleries. This free public transportation program kicked off Friday, Feb. 7 and will operate on a three month trial period.
“The main goal is to promote First Fridays and facilitate easy access to all the galleries since there are too many to walk to now,” said Michelle Crow-Dolby, UMW education and communications manager.
There are two trolleys that travel through downtown Fredericksburg and also stop in local residential areas. The trolleys stop across from Seacobeck Hall to encourage students to take the opportunity to go downtown using the free transportation.
“I think it’s a good idea because as students we don’t have a lot of money for transportation and some of us don’t have cars, so it’s nice to have something to take us downtown to see the art on First Friday,” said James Stewart, freshman art history major. “I think as students it’s important to appreciate the downtown art and to support the community shops and galleries.”
The ridership will be monitored during the three month trial period to determine if there is enough demand to continue this program permanently. According to Crow-Dolby, during the first week that the trolleys ran there were more than 200 riders who took advantage of the opportunity of free public transportation.
Several galleries in downtown Fredericksburg are open during the times the trolleys run. Crow-Dolby said she hopes that the UMW Ridderhoff Martin Gallery will also decide to open during these hours.
People who ride the trolley are not limited to just going to the art galleries. They may also visit the shops and go to the restaurants there as well.
“It sounds pretty cool. I didn’t know about it [but] I would probably take it. It’s nice since we are kind of far away [from downtown],” said Jenna Aschenbach, sophomore international affairs major.
FAC is trying to decide on a cost effective way to mark the trolley stops so riders know exactly where the locations are, such as handing out printed maps. The maps are currently being adjusted, while stops are being removed and added. The current map is available at fredarts.com.