Weekend trolley route rolls out

After several hours of shopping at Perkins Rowe, Lori Heroman and her family decided to take a new Baton Rouge method of transportation to get to Towne Center — the Trolley Rouge.

So Heroman — along with her sister, Michelle Garner; mother, Pam Wilkerson; daughter, Macy Heroman; and nephew, Cannon Garner — hopped on a trolley at Perkins Rowe and rode to the shopping jungle on Corporate Boulevard, with several stops along the way.

The ride took longer than expected, but Heroman said she and her family enjoyed it.

“It’s nice not to have to get in our car and drive around,” Heroman said.

Heroman and the bunch were part of a small group to travel on a segment of Trolley Rouge’s introductory run Saturday.

The trolleys are not actually trolleys — they are buses decorated to look like trolleys.

They run on rubber tires like buses, not rails the real trolley cars use.

The new transportation route kicked off Saturday and runs on Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 26.

The trolleys on the route run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The trolleys are operated by the Capital Area Transit System and are almost entirely funded through private sponsorships.

The route aims to encourage LSU football game day visitors to experience Baton Rouge’s culture, food and shopping venues, according to the CATS website.

A ride on one trolley circuit takes about two hours with stops at various locations across Baton Rouge, ranging from hotels on Constitution Avenue to Perkins Rowe and downtown.

Starting at Constitution, one trolley on Saturday made its rounds at the hotels before driving to Towne Center. After a 15-minute wait there, the cart drove down Jefferson Highway to Bluebonnet Boulevard for Perkins Rowe.

After another wait, the trolley traveled back down Bluebonnet and Jefferson, rolling past Towne Center on its way to Government Street before hitting downtown.

The trolley wound its way around downtown before stopping at Hotel Indigo. From there, it took riders by the levee and the State Capitol before passing through Hollywood Casino.

The trolley took the freeway only once — from downtown back to Constitution Avenue.

The trolley travel may last a while, but it is a pleasant experience on a day with good weather — just like it was Saturday.

There is no glass in the windows in the back of the car, which let riders bask in the cool breeze and the warm sunrays.

“You can’t go wrong with weather like this,” said Michelle Garner, Heroman’s sister.

Heroman, an LSU alumna, spent the day shopping and riding the trolley instead of watching LSU soundly beat Kentucky because her mother and sister were visiting from her hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss.

“I would rather spend the day with them,” she said.