Just finished reading about CityView Trolley, the new tour service in Key West. There’s now 2 companies, and 3 tour services, in town. Historic Tours of America operates the Conch Train and Old Town Trolley,and the new kid, CityView Trolley.
Now I’m all for free enterprise but Key West is a rather small island, only 2 miles by 4 miles. And the tours primarily focus on Old Town and the closely surrounding area – say maybe a mile or 2 total.
So I’m a little concerned….okay, a lot concerned….about the environmental impact of this. I mean, it can’t be good having all that exhaust going into the air of this rather small rock. Not to mention the traffic snarls. I’ve already been witness to the traffic tie-ups when a trolley stops. And now they kinda tag behind each other.
Let’s do a comparison. Since CityView is an on/off tour just like Old Town Trolley, we’ll use these two. (Conch Train does not allow you to get off and reboard later.)
We’ll start with price.
CityView charges Adult $19, Senior/Active Military/Student $18, Child (4-12) $9. All are $1 less is purchased online.
Old Town Trolley charges Adult $29, Children 4-12 $14, under 4 is no charge. Online the prices are Adult $26.10, Children 4-12 $12.60, under 4 is no charge.
Now before we think this is a no-brainer, let’s consider the tours and what they encompass.
CityView has 9 stops: (1)Mallory Square area; (2) Pirate Soul area (Editor’s Note: Pirate Soul will close this month); (3) La Concha; (4) Eco-Center & Ft. Zachery Taylor Park; (5) Higgs Beach Area; (6) Southernmost Point & Butterfly Museum area; (7) Hemingway House area; (8) Bight area; (9) Conch Republic Seafood Company area.
Quite frankly, the route seems a little convoluted to me. Not the most efficient route, to say the least. But it does cover Old Town pretty well.
Now for Old Town Trolley, which has 12 stops: (1) Mallory Square area; (2) Bight area; (3) Simonton Row – which is the area Pirate Soul is; (4) La Concha area; (5) Bahama Village – the Hemingway House is in this area; (6) Fairfield Inn – Key West Yacht Club is here; (7) Welcome Center and quite a few hotels/resorts on N. Roosevelt; (8) Smather’s Beach, Airport, East Martello Fort area; (9) Higgs Beach, West Martello Fort, White Street Pier area; (10) Butterfly Museum and Southernmost Point area, (11) Truman Avenue area – St. Mary Star of the Sea Grotto, Truman Avenue Shopping, Hemingway House, Butterfly Museum are close by; (12) Key West Cemetery.
Also a convoluted route – could use an efficiency expert here too. It covers a wider area. For approximately $10 more, you do get mostly the same stops as CityView, with the addition of the Cemetery and Smather’s Beach. Also, Old Town Trolley stops in the newer part of Key West, where the chain hotels and shopping centers are.
The one new feature CityView brings to Key West is the Tales and Tombstones Trolley Tour. Although there are several walking tours, this is the first trolley tour that I know of. Not quite sure how a trolley tour of scary things works, but I guess I’ll have to take this tour to find out. I’ll review it in August.
But, quite frankly, I can’t see how another trolley service is benefiting Key West. It doesn’t bring in more business – it’s just diluting the daytime business of all 3 services; and diluting the nighttime scary, haunted tours business too.
CityView pulled out of Salem, MA. because there wasn’t enough business to go around….let’s see how this plays out in Key West.