Public transit still moving in Calabasas

Acorn Staff Writer

Trolley car transports Calabasans

Trolley car transports Calabasans

Public transit still moving

in Calabasas

If you want to take advantage of various entertainment and dining amenities in Calabasas, but don’t want to hassle with weekend traffic and parking, the city’s come up with a solution — take the city trolley.


Designed with the Old West in mind, the bright red trolley runs through the city every weekend, picking up and dropping off passengers at popular points every hour.


The trolley runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.


The schedule is designed to meet the recreational needs of Calabasas citizens, according to Ruth Garcia, assistant director of transportation and intergovernmental relations.



Schedules are available at city hall.


The route starts at the city hall/library building, and goes into town, stopping at different points along the way, including Mountain View Estates, Round Mountain Elementary School, The Commons and the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings.


Going the other way, it starts at Hidden Hills (which chips in for running expenses), with stops including Sagebrush Cantina, The Courtyard and Red Robin.


The trolley loops around hourly, and spends about five minutes stopped at the Edwards Theater in The Commons, a very popular stop, according to Robert Yalda, director of transportation and intergovernmental relations for Calabasas.


The driver is also instructed to stop if someone flags him down, Yalda said.


The trolley serves all ages. On early Friday evening and early Saturday morning runs, it’s used by teenagers who don’t yet have a driver’s license, Yalda said. By late Friday evenings there are more adults and families, he said.


Although small groups of teenagers are allowed on the trolley without an adult, they’re cautioned to behave or they’ll be evicted at the next stop, said Yalda.


"The kids go to a movie while the parents go to the Sagebrush. Then they meet on the trolley and return home," Garcia said.


"A lot of times, people like to ride on the trolley just for fun—it’s entertainment in itself," she added.


The trolley started in 1998, according to Yalda.


"When we built Old Town (which finished around 1998), we realized there was a need to get people to The Commons," Yalda said. "The idea started with the question of transporting the people from the Sagebrush Cantina to the movie theaters without moving their cars."


The pilot program began around the holidays 1998, when the city rented a trolley for a six- month trial.


During that time, the city received matching grants from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to purchase a trolley that would use environmentally-friendly fuel, in this case, compressed natural gas, which emits fewer pollutants than gasoline.


"We got the top of the line model, with air conditioning … it is also convertible, so the sides can come up in nice weather," said Yalda. It also has a wheelchair ramp.


Riding the trolley is free, but Yalda suggests tipping the driver, who works hard to make the trip entertaining.


Half of the trolley’s operation costs are funded by local advertisements which are featured on the sides of the bus, and from contributions from the city of Hidden Hills. The rest of the funds come from the MTA.


The Calabasas business community also supports the trolley, which features local restaurant menus on the walls inside the vehicle as well as the advertising on the outside.


Carol Washburn, president and CEO of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce, thinks the trolley is wonderful for local businesses and for the residents who utilize them.


"It’s such a convenience for the business people and the shoppers of the community," said Washburn.


"It’s a marvelous circuit," she added.


"It gets people to and from shopping and services that they need. It also relieves traffic and congestion, and helps bring out people when parking is limited."


Washburn also said that the trolley provides an historical touch to Calabasas.


"It’s so charming for me to look out of my window and see it coming down the street," she said.


"As a little girl, I used to ride on the Red Car in Pasadena. It’s nostalgic for me."




CHUCK ROGERS/The AcornMASS TRANSIT IN STYLE - Trolley driver Andrew Fletcher pauses to board passengers at one of his regular stops at The Commons in Calabasas. The trolley makes regular trips between Calabasas City Hall and the shopping center on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For detailed schedule information, visit or call city hall.

CHUCK ROGERS/The AcornMASS TRANSIT IN STYLE – Trolley driver Andrew Fletcher pauses to board passengers at one of his regular stops at The Commons in Calabasas. The trolley makes regular trips between Calabasas City Hall and the shopping center on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For detailed schedule information, visit or call city hall.

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