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Optima tourist trolley formerly operated by RRTA in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A tourist trolley, also called a road trolley, is a rubber-tired bus designed to resemble an old-style streetcar or tram, usually with false clerestory roof. The vehicles are usually fueled by diesel, or sometimes compressed natural gas.

The name refers to the American English usage of the word trolley to mean an electric streetcar. As these vehicles are not actually trolleys, and to avoid confusion with trolley buses, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) refers to them as "trolley-replica buses".[1]


Tourist trolleys are used by both municipal and private operators. Municipal operators may mix tourist trolleys in with the regular service bus fleet to add more visitor interest or attract attention to new routes. In many cities tourist trolleys are used as circulators.[2] Tourist trolleys are also run by private operators to carry tourists to popular destinations.

In San Francisco, tourist trolleys mimic the city's famous cable cars.

Tourist trolleys sometimes operate in places which also have streetcars. For example, tourist trolleys operate in Philadelphia,[3] which also has actual trolley service.[4]


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Gillig Trolley owned by EMTA.
Dupont Trolley owned by Kingston Citibus.

Notable operators of tourist-trolley buses:




See also


  1. ^ "Bus and Trolleybus Definitions". American Public Transportation Association. 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  2. ^ A circulator operates a simplified route limited to popular destinations on a fixed schedule with a reduced or free fare. See ref [1] for definition.
  3. ^ "Philadelphia Trolley Works ('76 Carriage Company) —". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  4. ^ "SEPTA - Route 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 & 36 Trolley Line Map". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Historic Trolley Route has a new name - Route 6/Downtown Lancaster Loop". Red Rose Transit Authority. August 22, 2019. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "NFTA Route 55T bus schedule" (PDF). Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.