More and more aspects of suburban life are returning to normal with each passing week, and on July 2 Schaumburg's Woodfield Trolley service is expected to be one of them.
Schaumburg Transportation Director Karyn Robles said the village and Pace Suburban Bus have been monitoring the pandemic regularly, and the opening up of hotels and other services seemed to make the timing right.
"We felt that a July start date put us at a really good point," Robles said. "We're starting to get inquiries from more of our riders."
Pace's Route 905 -- which uses trolley-shaped buses -- connects Woodfield Mall, the Schaumburg Convention Center, and other hotels and businesses in the village's main commercial district. The service has been suspended since March 28, 2020.
As in a normal year, the plan is to have weekend-only service before going daily between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
But based on a suggestion by new village Trustee Jamie Clar, Schaumburg's transportation department will study the feasibility of going daily earlier in November to capture more of the longer holiday shopping season observed by Woodfield Mall and other stores. A recommendation, based on this year's ridership, is expected to be made at the October meeting of the transportation committee, Robles said.
"We do expect we'll see a gradual increase in ridership," she said.
The village is responsible for 40% of the cost of weekend service, and 100% of the cost of Monday-Friday service. The village's cost from July 2 through the end of 2021 by the current schedule will be $119,165, which is $3,655 under what had been budgeted for the year. There was a 3% cost reduction in the agreement with Pace due to fuel savings and a lower hourly rate.
Though a summer return of the trolley service had been anticipated in Schaumburg's annual budget that took effect May 1, Pace required 60 days' notification to restart the route, Robles said.
Schaumburg's transportation committee reviewed the anticipated agreement with Pace this week, and a formal approval by the village board is scheduled for its meeting Tuesday.
Another lingering effect of the pandemic on Schaumburg's transportation services is the continued reduction of Pace's Dial-A-Ride service hours. But that, too, is under review for the potential reinstatement of those hours, Robles said,