West Hollywood has rolled out its new entertainment shuttle, The PickUp, and the unique, yellow trolleys are already turning heads on Santa Monica Boulevard.
The city held a soft launch of The PickUp on Aug. 9, but the free shuttle will officially begin its six-month pilot this weekend. The PickUp runs from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and will traverse Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to Robertson Boulevard on a four-mile loop.
“We hope that people really use it, and we’ll be able to continue doing it,” Mayor Abbe Land said, adding that the city spent more than $70,000 on the trolleys. They will cost the city $110 per operating hour. “We really want this pilot to work, so we’re really excited. We hope everyone jumps on The PickUp line and uses it over the next six months.”
She said The PickUp has had quite the reception so far, and that was evidenced by eager riders at the soft launch last Friday. People took pictures in front of the trolleys, which were painted with cartoon illustrations of people promoting the new mode of transportation. On one bus, an illustration explains, “Cuddling & breakfast not required.”
The trolleys — there are two of them — will stop every two or three blocks and come every 15 minutes. They will offer an onboard photo booth, which allows riders to instantly upload their photos to social media sites. It will also jam a mash-up of beats by West Hollywood DJ Derek Monteiro, a sample of which was provided during the soft launch.
American GTS is operating the line, using their All-American Classic Trolleys, which do have an old-school feel to them despite the modern music and the technological elements of the photo booth.
“We are very excited about this,” Land said before the shuttles departed from the auto court at the West Hollywood Library.
Officials hope that The PickUp benefits area businesses while providing a safe alternative to drinking and driving, and alleviating congestion. Several businesses appear to be on board.
According to a press release, The PickUp riders will receive VIP entry to The Abbey, which will negate the need to wait in line. The Abbey will also offer a two-for-one breakfast before noon. Micky’s is offering no cover and priority admission. Hugo’s is give one free appetizer with the purchase on an entrée. Riders who get off at Fubar will get one, $1 drink, and stopping at Here Lounge will yield 50 percent off patrons’ first drink. The release states that additional “perks” will be added throughout the pilot.
“This is a pilot project, and what determines whether it continues is if it’s successful,” Councilman John Heilman said, adding that he believes The PickUp will be successful. “We hope you’ll be out here this weekend, next weekend, every weekend. Come out and enjoy West Hollywood.”
The city will host another launch event at 6 p.m. on Friday on the patios in front of Micky’s, Revolver Video Bar and Eleven Bar & Nightclub in the 8800 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. Officials will launch the shuttles from the corner of Larrabee Street and Santa Monica Boulevard at 7:45 p.m.
For information, call (323)848-6469 or visit www.weho.org. The trolleys are also on Facebook and Twitter under the user name “WehoPickUp”.
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