Schaumburg panel favors restoring Woodfield Trolley's daily summer service to help businesses
Schaumburg's transportation committee Tuesday unanimously recommended restoring the Woodfield Trolley's daily summer service next year to help the town's retail and hospitality industries recover from the pandemic.
The trolley-shaped green buses in 2020 and 2021 have rolled through the commercial area around Woodfield Mall only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, expanding to daily between Black Friday and New Year's Day.
Now the recommendation is to return the daily service that used to happen during the summer months, between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
While Pace Suburban Bus pays 60% of the Friday-through-Sunday service that's free for riders, the village pays 100% of the cost for the daily service during the holidays and summer.
Though the proposed contract with Pace included some options for cost reductions, including delaying or eliminating the enhanced summer service, the three trustees on the transportation committee weren't interested.
"I think we should continue on the same path to encourage the recovery," Trustee Jamie Clar said.
The area's tourism and visitors bureau, Meet Chicago Northwest, has often told the village that the trolley service plays an important role in bringing conventions and other large groups to Schaumburg.
"This is an amenity that adds a convenience for visitors," said Trustee Brian Bieschke, who chairs the transportation committee.
The village's cost for the 2022 contract with Pace is $298,716, which is 5.5% higher than the one negotiated for a comparable level of service for 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a suspension of service until last July.
Rising contract costs, increased maintenance of the now 4-year-old vehicles and higher fuel prices were among the factors that led to an increase in the rate, Schaumburg's Transportation Program Manager David Powe said.
The full village board is scheduled for final vote on the contract on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
The reduced-cost options it, too, may consider would save the village $20,251 by delaying the start of the enhanced summer service until June 19, $96,953 by eliminating it altogether, and $33,534 by cutting the enhanced service during the end-of-year holidays.