Blue Water Area transit’s historic summer trolley on the road again

Blue Water Area Transit celebrates the agency’s 40th season of providing seasonal fixed-route service on its historic trolley. The trolley runs throughout the summer from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, beginning the first week of June, through Labor Day. The Autumn schedule is Saturdays only and continues through the second week of October.

Recognized as one of Michigan’s best values, Blue Water Area Transit’s one-hour trolley route features over 50 local points of interest. The trolley swings by museums, churches, beaches, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, and other historic landmarks. It travels through the heart of Port Huron and along the riverfront for a panoramic view of the Blue Water Bridges, the Thomas Edison Statue, and the Train Depot.
“The Trolley offers an overview of local history aboard an old-time trolley vehicle for only 10 cents,” says Blue Water Area Transit general manager Dave McElroy, “which is the amount patrons paid in 1866 for the area’s first local transit service.”

BWAT’s aquamarine trolley runs on eco-friendly compressed natural gas. It is also ADA-compliant for elderly and disabled passengers. It was designed and manufactured by the Home Town Trolley Company of Crandon, Wisconsin.

“Although the Trolley is designed for visitors, it’s also very popular among those of us who live in the Blue Water Area,” says Anita R. Ashford, Blue Water Area Transportation Commission Board vice-chair and Port Huron City Council member. “It’s a fun, learning experience for the whole family.”
The Aqua Trolley at the Blue Water Bridge.
Passengers can get on and off the trolley at 17 points along the route, including hotels and marinas. The official starting point is the Downtown Blue Water Transit Bus Center, 720 McMorran Blvd., across from McMorran Place). Besides being on BWAT’s website, the points of interest and boarding points are listed in the official trolley brochures available at the Convention Center, Chamber of Commerce, and many retailers throughout Port Huron.

Discounted (five-cent) fares are available for senior citizens (60 and up), as well as persons with a disability or valid Medicare cards.

For an additional fare, trolley riders may also connect with Port Huron’s citywide transit system that serves local shopping and industrial centers throughout the area. 
Blue Water Area Transit’s ten-cent trolley schedule is made possible by a group of local sponsors, including the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Radio 1st (WHLS, WSAQ, WPHM, WBTI), Raven Café, The Blue Water Convention Center, Papaya Branch Boutique and The Robbins Group.

The Trolley route and hours are subject to change.

About Blue Water Area Transit 

Blue Water Area Transit continues the proud tradition of innovation that was started more than a century and a half ago by William Pitt Edison. The older brother of world-renowned inventor Thomas Alva Edison started a horse-pulled trolley service in 1866. After that, he switched to horse-pulled streetcars guided by rails along several local routes. 

Port Huron became one of the nation’s first communities to operate electrified trolleys in 1886 and then motor coaches in the late 1930s. After an eight-year hiatus ended in 1976, Blue Water Area Transit became the area’s first publicly funded bus service. Since then, BWAT buses have carried more than 34 million rider trips.

Six days a week (Monday through Saturday), BWAT provides ADA-compliant, ramp-equipped bus service. BWAT buses travel in 45-minute intervals along seven fixed routes in Port Huron and Fort Gratiot. Also, BWAT operates commuter service along an I-94 express route and an M-29 local route with stops in the cities of Marysville, St. Clair, Marine City, Algonac, Anchorville, and the townships of Clay and Ira. BWAT also provides dial-a-ride service in the townships of Burtchville, Port Huron, and Fort Gratiot as well as the city of Marysville.

BWAT started producing its own compressed natural gas in 1996 and ranked as Michigan’s largest producer of alternative fuel. The transit agency ran the state’s largest fleet of natural gas-fueled buses for more than 20 years. It operates four public CNG fueling stations. Additionally, in 2021, BWAT became the first public transit agency in Michigan to operate electric transit buses in its transportation fleet.
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