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The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line is your tour and sightseeing expert for your visit to Atlanta GA.

Our blog will serve as a tool to help you plan and visit the city of Atlanta Georgia. Over the life of our blog we will add features, video clips, tour guide recommendations, local tips, advice and information we feel will be helpful to you when you plan your trip.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

One of the first press stories

A reprint of one of the first stories about the Atlanta Trolley Tour Line.

By MATT SCHAFER Southern Voice, FEB. 29, 2008

If there’s a new way to see Atlanta, Joseph St. Jean will probably find it, bring it to the city, and lead tourists around in it.Formerly known as “Segway Joe” for his role with Segway Personal Transport tour, St. Jean's unofficial nickname at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau recently changed to “Trolley Joe,” in light of his new occupation. Last month, St. Jean got his Atlanta Trolley Tour Line up and running. It is Atlanta’s only trolley company to have a fixed route with scheduled stops.“Everything has been 100 percent positive,” says St. Jean. “No one has said, ‘Oh, it's a horrible idea.’ Everyone, the chamber, the hotels, they’ve all said this is something they’ve needed in the city for the long time.”After purchasing two used trolleys, St. Jean started running routes on Jan. 15. While ridership has been light, he wanted to do a soft opening to quietly raise awareness and work out the bugs before warmer weather and tourist season hits later this year. He plans a grand opening in late March.Amanda Dyson Dana, sales manager for the ACVB, says the trolley tour will fill a gap in Atlanta’s mass transit plan.“I think this is something the city has needed for a long time,” Dana says. “When you look at other major cities like Boston or San Francisco, they all have something similar, and we haven’t had anything like this in Atlanta.”Tourism is a major economic driver for Atlanta, with 25.7 million visitors coming for vacations in 2006. Without including convention and business travelers, vacationers accounted for $6.2 billion of Atlanta’s 2006 economy.“There is really nothing that connects all the major attractions and places to visit in the city at all,” St. Jean says. “Even MARTA doesn’t attach them all together, and we’re doing it in a fun, entertaining way.”THE ENTERTAINMENT COMES in the form of tour guides/trolley drivers. Willie Mae Whitlock, one the first drivers St. Jean hired, waited for her boss to walk out of earshot before saying that, yes, she really does add her own personal history to the tour.“I try to add in a little of my own experiences,” Whitlock says. “I was here for the Olympics and so I talk about that, add in a few of my own little stories.”Currently the tour is a 115 minute loop, starting at Centennial Park, heading north to Atlantic Station and south to Grant Park and Turner Field. St. Jean hopes to quickly expand so that trolleys make scheduled stops, and tourists can see sights like the World of Coke at their leisure. Eventually, he would like to expand to tourist draws outside the perimeter as well.“We’ve arranged stops throughout the city, so if someone wants to go to the zoo they can catch the trolley, get off and catch the next trolley that comes by,” he says.Taking tourists up 10th Street to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens isn’t only so they can observe Brazilian Cattleya amethystoglossa or the blooming Japanese anise tree.“The route was very deliberate,” St. Jean says. “Bringing them into the heart of Midtown was important for me.”Beyond the loop, St. Jean’s trolleys are also available for weddings and chartered events.“We’ve had a family reunion request,” he says. “If anyone wants to late night party we’ll do that, that’s fine.”So far most of the business has come from travel sites like Expedia.com and Priceline.com. Local hotels, the Visitors Bureau, and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce are helping to spread the word as well.“People are really just starting to see us now, so it's really just starting to catch on,” he says. With years working for tourism companies in Boston, Key West and Atlanta behind him, St. Jean says he feels an entirely different level of satisfaction working for himself.“After the first day we actually opened, and we actually had customers on the trolley, I went home that night and I was tired, I was dead, but I was smiling the entire night I was so happy. It was kind of like ‘Oh we actually did it,’” he says. “It was just this total release of this energy, I can’t think of the word to describe it.”Atlanta Trolley Tour Arrives Want to get from the Aquarium to the Zoo or from Underground Atlanta to the Atlanta Botanical Garden? What is the best way to do it? Well! Park the car and leave the driving to the newest tour service in the City of Atlanta; The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line. The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line is the newest sightseeing service catering to visitors and locals alike. Vintage style trolley buses are used to provide travelers with a unique and entertaining experience of Atlanta. Located in the heart of the city, The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line stops at different historic locations, major attractions and retail centers while at the same time provides customers with tidbits of information about the city and its history. Joseph St Jean, President and Founder of the Atlanta Trolley Tour Line, is extremely excited to be the only permitted sightseeing company in Atlanta, Georgia. “The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line is ideal for tourists and residents living in Atlanta because it offers two great services all in one trip. The trolleys provide transportation while sightseeing around the city with a well-educated tour guide,” Mr. St Jean said. “Our goal is to give the visitors to Atlanta an educational and entertaining trip while at the same time promoting the city and all it has to offer in a positive and exciting manner.”The Atlanta Trolley Tour Line operates from the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau visitor’s center located at Underground Atlanta on Pryor Street seven days a week with 4-6 tours on a daily basis. Tickets can be purchased on the same day customers plan to ride the trolley or they can purchase them on line. The tour takes about an hour and a half to ride and leaves from stop number one located Pryor and Alabama Streets.Tours usually start between 9:00 and 10:00 AM and conclude around 5:00 PM. Guests have the opportunity to get off at different location and spend time visiting the sites. Guests will be picked up from the location by a trolley at a later time. “This service is brand new to the city and so far in our first six months of operation there has been an amazing response. It’s been overwhelming. I expect to see even more of a response over the holiday season when families are visiting. Tours are already selling out and filling up everyday,” Mr. St. Jean said.