Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll wants residents to know that the red trolleys seen puttering through the streets giving guided tours of the Witch City are not just for tourists.
According to the city's official website, free trolley rides are now being offered to residents through August and September as part of a pilot program aimed at adding to Salem's "green" efforts, which in recent years have been focused on improving bicycle transportation through a bike sharing program and improved bike routes throughout the city.
The Salem Trolley has a stop at the Salem Ferry and two stops - at the Trolley Depot and the Witch House - that are within walking distance of the Salem MBTA commuter rail station, giving residents easy access to public transportation. Officials hope that if residents take advantage of this, the city might see a reduction in vehicular traffic on already congested streets.
The service runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It's also an easy way for residents to see areas of the city - such as the Salem Willows and Winter Island - that they might otherwise overlook, free of charge.
"I hope Salem residents will take advantage of the Salem Trolley as an enjoyable way to see and visit many corners of our city," Driscoll said in a statement on the city's website. "The more residents that utilize the trolley, the fewer cars will be on our roads reducing congestion and the city's overall energy footprint."
As part of the deal with B & H Enterprises, Inc. - which operates as the Salem Trolley - riders must show proof of residency to take advantage of the program and can not displace paying customers, meaning that there must be extra seats available on a trolley for free riders to get on.
"I am very pleased to work with the city on this initiative," David Butler, owner of the Salem Trolley, said in a statement. "I hope Salem residents will take full advantage of this program which will be beneficial to the city and will allow us to better utilize our trolleys for a public purpose."
Tickets are available at a number of locations throughout the city. Ticket vendors are located at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Street, at the Salem Trolley office on Central Street and the Trolley Depot on Essex Street.
Tickets can also be purchased on board and online at salemtrolley.com.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.