DEADWOOD | New trolley services designed to cater to Black Hills visitors in this former gold camp are yielding mixed results due to equipment issues and limited hours of operation, according to local officials.
The Deadwood Attractions Trolley began its first runs May 27, allowing visitors to hop aboard and take in historical attractions, art venues and a wine destination.
For a flat rate of $3, travelers can board the trolley at the History & Information Center and are taken to the Historic Adams House, Broken Boot Gold Mine, Days of '76 Museum, Schade Winery and Tatanka: Story of the Bison. Children under 12 years of age ride free with a paid adult.
Bob Nelson Sr., trolley manager for the city of Deadwood, said the idea came as a way to help guests and residents see the rich history and cultural entertainment the area has to offer.
"It’s a great, low-cost way for our guests to see our many museums and attractions," Nelson said. "This makes it more convenient for our visitors who would normally have to drive to these attractions individually."
But Nelson added that ridership on the new attractions trolley has been diminished by a shortage of trolleys, which forced the city to reduce service to just three days last week.
"The response has been off to a slow start," he said. "We've had lots of questions and lots of brochures have been distributed, but it's off to a slow start."
One of the city's six trolleys was taken out of service due to engine issues last week, resulting in the service being cut by two days, Nelson explained. He said that trolley is expected to be back in service by this weekend, allowing the trolley to resume its 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. service Monday through Friday.
A manager of one of the attractions serviced by the tourist trolley lauded the concept, but said there have been issues in its execution.
"It's a brilliant idea, but it starts too late in the day," said Steve Laffey, manager of Tatanka. "What visitor wants to wait until 11 o’clock to begin exploring? It's just too late."
Recognizing that the attractions trolley is in its trial run this summer, Laffey encouraged city officials to explore an expansion of hours, which he said would be more convenient for Deadwood visitors and bolster ridership.