By Jane Bartnett
There’s something special about trolleys. They are much more fun to ride than a bus.
San Francisco may have one of the most famous trolleys of all, but the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley has become a celebrity in its own right. Visitors from around the world have taken a ride and the word on the street is that the trolley is a wonderful way to get around. Best of all, it’s free!
Every day of the year, the colorfully painted trolley sets off at 8 a.m. from Turtle Beach on its way north to Siesta Village. It continues to make its way up and down the Key through the day and into the night. Sunday through Thursday, the trolley rides until 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, the trolley ends its run at midnight. Both tourists and many Siesta Key residents have discovered the trolley’s hop-on and hop-off service as a way to get where they’re going.
Service of the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley began in 2017 when Sarasota County Area Transit launched the service. In June, 2022, the trolley held a celebration when it recorded its one-millionth rider. Since then, riders continue to make the trolley an often photographed and popular attraction. In addition to its cheery and welcoming tropical appearance, the trolley also serves an important role by reducing the number of cars traveling the Key and transporting people quickly and enjoyably.
“Our goal,” said Jane Grogg, Sarasota County Area Transit director, “is to continually provide innovative solutions for travel.”
Ridership on the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley was reported to be the highest of all Sarasota County Area Transit services in the first six months of 2022.
The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is a strong supporter of the trolley and devotes a page on its website to the service, encouraging everyone to “hop on!” The trolley also has strong support from the Siesta Key business community. Elana Rubinfeld, manager of the Turtle Beach Resort & Inn, recommends the trolley to all of her guests vacationing in the southern part of the island. She encourages visitors to leave their cars behind and to take advantage of the easy access that the trolley provides to Siesta Beach and the Village.
“It’s a great way to see the Key,” she said.
The free Siesta Key Breeze App is one of the best and easiest ways to learn about the trolley and track Siesta’s Key’s coolest way to get around the island. Available on Google Play or the Apple App, it’s easy to navigate and lists all 46 trolley stops with addresses. It also shows a map of the route and offers real-time tracking to determine when the trolley will reach the rider’s location. The app also reports service notices.
For more information on the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley, call 311 or visit the Sarasota County government website, scgov.net, and find a link for the Breeze Rider app.