Download the App

To view where the trolleys are at any time, download the app SC Trolley on your phone or visit

By Eric Heinz

The red, white and black trolleys will be prominently featured throughout the downtown portions of San Clemente, as the program is starting after more than a year of planning.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 26, at Parque Del Mar in the Pier Bowl, next to The Marine Monument.
Jennifer Rosales, a city senior transportation engineer who managed the project, said this will help with the influx of people who visit San Clemente during the summer.

“In the downtown and Pier Bowl area, people can hop on a free ride, and it should definitely help mobility and access for people,” Rosales said. “We’re going to be putting up trolley signage at the stops, and we have a trolley info sign at the Pier…where volunteers will be staffed,” Rosales said.
The trolleys will circulate from the San Clemente Pier, then travel up to N. El Camino Real and down through North Beach, then circle from the Outlets back down a similar route from which they came. See the map centerspread published in this week’s edition.
There is also a mobile app, SC Trolley, where people can follow the trolleys as they travel in real time.

“It’ll take about 15 minutes for each of the trolleys to reach every stop, although in real time they could start to bunch up, but they’re trying to maintain that 15-minute spacing,” Rosales said.

There are three trolleys in the fleet that will all ferry passengers at the same time.

The City Council could consider future options for the program, such as connecting to Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano or expanding the service through the grant in the next application study to add routes to Talega and Foster Ranch, but that is contingent on the availability of grant money, Rosales said.
The total grant covers seven years for the trolleys, with an amount of $1.18 million, and the city is required to match 11 percent of that. The Friends of San Clemente Foundation raised $10,000 to help with the effort. The grant for the trolleys was provided by Orange County Transportation Authority and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which kicked in $542,900 for the first year; therefore the city spent $67,000 for the first year.

Trolley Schedule

  • Noon-10 p.m. on Thursdays
  • Noon-10 p.m. on Fridays
  • 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays
  • 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays

In order to ensure the city is eligible for grant money in the future, the program must prove that there are at least six to 10 riders on average per hour, per stop.

“The trolley operator will have a tablet, and they’ll record how many passengers get on and off,” Rosales said. “In the first year, the requirement minimum is six people per trolley, and then the next two years we have to have a minimum of 10. The goal will be a minimum of 10 and then we’ll know we’ll be successful in the years to come.”


The San Clemente Summer Trolley Program begins May 26 with a ribbon cutting at Parque Del Mar at 10 a.m. Photo: Eric Heinz
The San Clemente Summer Trolley Program begins May 26 with a ribbon cutting at Parque Del Mar at 10 a.m. Photo: Eric Heinz

The trolleys will begin Memorial Day Weekend, debuting on May 26, and conclude on Labor Day Weekend.

“You will see the trolleys on (May) 25th because the new drivers are going to be practicing driving the route,” Rosales said, adding a video press release on the program is available on the city’s YouTube page.

“The trolley will also be operating on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day,” a press release from the city stated. “The trolley stops at 16 different locations, which include, but are not limited to: The San Clemente Pier, Avenida Del Mar and Ola Vista, The Outlets at San Clemente, and the Metrolink train station at North Beach.”

For more information, visit the trolley tracker website at

About The Author Staff

comments (3)

comments (3)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>