|Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do the trolleys run around when they are empty?
We never know when there is going to be someone waiting at a trolley stop. An integral part of our
planning is the study of historical travel data but that doesn't adequately reflect Eureka's nature as a tourist
destination. Ours is not a commuter community--we cannot plan on masses of travelers being at stops from
8 am to 10 am, and then again from 4 pm to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. However, we are able to
predict fairly accurately that we will be busier on Fridays and Saturdays, and during the summer months
more than the winter. And it's those type of factors that are heavily relied upon in scheduling.
2. Your drivers seem friendly but they won't tell us what we are looking at.
There are two major considerations we use in selecting our drivers: The first is his/her mastery of
the technical skills needed to operate a 27,000 pound commercial vehicle through the narrow and
winding streets of Eureka Springs while transporting hundreds of visitors to town; and the second is
his/her ability to interact with those passengers in a way that makes them feel welcome while also
looking after their safety.
Our trolley, minibus and tram drivers are all required to have a Commercial Driver's License. They
are required to pass a written exam as well as a skills test.
In the handbook for the written exam, there is a section devoted entirely to transporting
passengers. Section 4.5, Prohibited Practices, states in part:
"Don't talk with riders, or engage in any other distracting activity, while driving".
So while our drivers try to be as friendly and as helpful as they can, there are limits as to what they
are permitted to do.
Another factor that comes into play has to do with competing with private enterprise. There are
tour companies in town whose owners make a living giving narrated tours. If our drivers were to
engage in that activity they would be engaging in improper competition.
3. Why do we have to pay for parking at city-owned lots like the Transit Center & the Planer Hill
Park & Ride Lot?
The short answer is that we need that revenue to help pay for running the transit system. We have a large
operation here - both what you can see and the behind-the-scenes activities. There is the maintenance of
the rest rooms at the Downtown Depot and the Transit Center, the compensation for the people who drive
the trolleys and for those who maintain them, the pay to the folks who take care of the grounds and keep
the rest rooms clean and stocked, along with others.
Public transit agencies across the nation depend on a variety of funding sources to help keep the buses
running. Fare revenue covers only a part - and a small part at that. Some 30 years ago the federal
government made a policy decision to support public transportation because it had significant benefits to
society as a whole: reducing emissions, cutting down on the dependency on fossil fuels, enabling
lower-income citizens access to transportation for employment, shopping and medical purposes.
Eureka Springs Transit is classified as a rural transit provider because of our population. As such, we are
entitled to financial assistance from the federal government; and those funds are administered by the State's
Highway Department. Only a part of our operating expenses is covered, however. The rest we have to
come up with locally. One way we do that is to charge a parking fee. We could eliminate that, of course,
but that would not eliminate the need for that revenue stream - we'd just to have to find it elsewhere, such
as an additional service fee to use the transit system.
Parking at our lot is an option. In the last couple of years we have expanded our Trolley Map and related
guides to help you find alternative parking around town - some of it free, some of it pay-to-use. And
always, we encourage those who are staying in town to leave their vehicle at their lodging facility. We have
more than 100 stops in town - no lodging facility is more than a short walk from a trolley stop.