365 Things to Do in Memphis #153: Take the Main Street Trolley

365 Things to Do in Memphis #153: Take the Main Street Trolley

When it comes to downtown mass transit, Memphis goes old school with a light rail trolley system. Assignment #153 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis list is to slow your roll on the trolley's Main Street route.

The trolley's story is a bit of a saga. Back in 2014, they were shut down for safety and maintenance reasons. Risks of being authentically vintage, I suppose.

In spring of 2018, a few new-old trolleys—totally safe and tested—returned just to Main Street. MATA (Memphis Area Transit Authority) hopes to restart the Riverfront Loop and Madison Avenue trolleys in the future.

Trolley Update! November 3, 2021 

The Downtown Memphis Commission hosted a “State of Downtown” livestream today and President Paul Young answered some questions about the Madison and Riverfront Trolley lines. He said that MATA will begin testing a “modern trolley” on the Madison line in the next 90 days, and how those tests go will determine if they bring back the route or not. As for the Riverfront Line, Young says that MATA has purchased three trolleys (presumably the vintage kind) and are looking for a company that can refurbish them.

The Orpheum | Logan Young

Ride The Main Street Line 

In the meantime, you can still use the Main Street Line to get around downtown. They run up and down Main Street, from South Main up to A.W. Willis Ave past the Convention Center, about every 20 minutes. There are plenty of stops. See a full map here.

There’s a bit of a running joke in town that you can out-walk a trolley. And it’s true...the pace of the downtown trolleys is leisurely at best. Riding the length will take maybe 30 - 45 minutes. It's not exactly the most efficient way to get from point A to point B, but it is a great way to see a lot of downtown Memphis in one go. 

Rides are $1 each. Read more here. Get more info on the trolley system here

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The trolleys are not free from 11 AM - 1 PM.  The reduced lunch fare has been discontinued.  The fares are $1.00 per person; $.50 for Senior Citizens; 4 year old & under are free.  Also, there is a limited free ride trolley from MLK (Linden) to G. E. Patterson on Trolley nights from 6 PM - 9 PM.  Anyone interested in riding trolleys frequently (even if its just for the weekend) should consider getting a pass. MATA offers a number of them for different rates.
June 4, 2012 2:16pm