Schaumburg's Woodfield-area trolley service will remain suspended through at least April 30 -- by which time the fleet will have been halted for 13 months -- but officials hope to determine this spring whether Memorial Day might be an appropriate time to reintroduce it.
Village Transportation Director Karyn Robles said Pace's trolley-shaped buses have long been seen as a productive amenity for visitors when hotel occupancy is strong and events are regularly scheduled at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
In recent years, annual ridership has averaged about 20,000 people, including Woodfield Mall shoppers from out of town, convention center visitors and other hotel guests making their way around Schaumburg's business district.
"We haven't seen anything to indicate that demand for the trolley wouldn't return," Robles said.
Discussions on the timing of the trolley's return will take place in conjunction with the planning of the new village budget that takes effect May 1, Robles said.
The early part of the year, apart from spring break, traditionally has seen the least amount of ridership on the trolleys. Demand usually increases in the summer and during the holidays.
In the meantime, suspension of the trolley fleet through at least the first four months of 2021 will save another $41,395 for the village, which has seen many of its usual revenue sources significantly reduced by the pandemic. In all, the village expects to save $276,613 by suspending the service from March 28, 2019 to April 30 this year, in addition to another $20,000 in savings on marketing costs.
The trolley service isn't the only Pace bus route in the village to have been negatively affected by the pandemic. Since the early fall, five other routes have been discontinued while Route 604 has seen a reduction in service.
The new year was supposed to start with a fresh contract agreement between Pace and Schaumburg for the operation of the trolleys. But those talks have been postponed until it's better known when service would restart, Robles said.
There's hoped to be at least a six- to eight-week lead time to negotiate a new contract before the trolleys would start rolling again, she added.