A new route along the beach road Scenic Byway between Old Town and Bayou Cadet is sure to be a hit - especially since it's free!
- story and photos by Ana Balka
Thursday saw the inaugural run of the new Fare-Free Beach Trolley that travels a route between the Silver Slipper Casino and Old Town, with a continuous 60-minute loop Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m (see map and schedule below).
“We are very pleased to have this partnership with the Silver Slipper,” said Kevin Coggin, Coast Transit Authority (CTA) Executive Director. “This is the result of a joint effort between the CTA, the Silver Slipper, and the downtown merchants of Bay St. Louis.
“We have seen more active community support for this than from any other community we have worked with,” Coggin said. "People love the trolley, and this community have so much going on.” The partnership marks increased private sector involvement, with the Silver Slipper matching the 50% funding that comes from federal transportation moneys.
“This is a perfect example of how a governmental agency and business community need to work together for the good of the community,” Coggin said to a gathered crowd at the Silver Slipper prior to boarding the trolley on its first run. “The Silver Slipper Casino are great community partners. We’re excited to be able to continue to provide this service."
Silver Slipper General Manager John Ferrucci said the trolley is a great idea whose time has come. He noted that organizers can take lessons from the trolley service that began in Old Town in July 2015, and can work to make the free trolley a benefit to all.
"This will connect the casino with Old Town, so we can send people to restaurants and shops there,” said Ferrucci.
The service will also create easy access to Buccaneer State Park and the beaches between Old Town and the casino.
Linda McCarthy of the Hancock Chamber echoed the enthusiasm for the Beach Trolley loop. “This will enhance the county as a tourism destination,” she said. “We always push for that, and this is going to be a great thing for Hancock County.”
The partnership is committed through the end of September, when assessments can be made for continuation of the loop.