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The Sponge Docks will remain the northern end of the Jolley Trolley Coastal Route following the approval by Tarpon Springs of an amendment funding agreement with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

TARPON SPRINGS – The Jolley Trolley will continue to roll into town.

The City Commission has approved an amendment to a funding agreement with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. The deal paves the way for the continuation of the Jolley Trolley coastal route service to the city through Sept. 30, 2022.

According to the terms of the second amendment of the coastal route funding agreement, Tarpon Springs would contribute $41,352 for Fiscal Year 2019, an increase of 10 percent over last year. In addition, Dunedin and Pinellas County will contribute $41,352 each, while $15,951 will come from Clearwater.

The PSTA’s $1,028,563 constitutes 88 percent of the $1,168,569 coastal route service funding.

The agreement also included a proposed clause that would limit partnership escalation to 5 percent in fiscal years 2020 through 2022.

During the first reading of the item in early August, Commissioner Jacob Karr asked for vacant advertising slots on the trolleys to be filled with materials that promote Tarpon Springs and the other supporting communities.

“I think it would benefit the city of Tarpon a lot to add advertisement along with our agreement to con-tinue to fund these trolleys,” Karr told PSTA Chief Development Officer Cassandra Borchers on Aug. 7. “There’s usually always open spots on the side of the trolley when I see them. I think it would behoove the city to put some type of language in the agreement to have some type of requirement for advertising ... tied along with the funding.”

Prior to the second reading, on Aug. 21, Borcher worked with city officials and Jolley Trolley CEO Rosemary Windsor to come up with several suggestions regarding potential advertising opportunities. Those opportunities include the placement of up to seven signs on seven different trolleys for up to two events a year in exchange of an equivalent event sponsorship and during the meeting, Karr said, he appreciated the extra work.

“Thank you for coming back with this information and presenting it to the board,” he said. “It’s good to see that there’s an opportunity to work with the Jolley Trolley for the amount of money the PSTA is giving the Jolley Trolley to operate.”

Karr said he understood the Jolley Trolley is a nonprofit organization that relies on paid advertising, but he said he believed open slots on the outside of the big red vehicles could be better utilized.

“I’m not asking for any favors or anything along those lines,” he said. “I’m just saying let’s recognize the partnership, and if you have open advertisement on the outside, there should be an opportunity to include something for the city of Tarpon … and the other cities involved, as well.”

Mayor Chris Alahouzos said he appreciated the offer from Jolley Trolley and Windsor and asked City Manager Mark LeCouris to “look into how we can take advantage of that.”

After the meeting, Alahouzos said, Karr “had a very good point about filling those open spots with promotions for the city, and I appreciate him making that a priority.”

The PSTA began the Jolley Trolley Coastal Route, connecting Island Estates, downtown Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs, in November 2010, offering weekend service only. In October 2016, the service expanded to seven days a week, and in summer of 2017, Jolley Trolley of Clearwater was selected by the PSTA for a new contract.

In February, the Jolley Trolley opened a transit center in Clearwater Beach and began offering one-seat rides between the Sponge Docks and Clearwater Beach. According to officials, 14 trolleys operate along the fixed coastal route.

For more information on the PSTA’s Jolley Trolley Coastal Route, visit ClearwaterJolleyTrolley.com.