Authority funds Lyric trolley stop; towing tackled
by Rachel Miller
June 14, 2013 11:54 PM | 3018 views | 12 12 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Historical Trolley Company tour guide Audrey Griffies and driver Ken Turner prepare their vehicle for guests wanting to explore the city’s sites Friday.
Historical Trolley Company tour guide Audrey Griffies and driver Ken Turner prepare their vehicle for guests wanting to explore the city’s sites Friday.
MARIETTA — The Historic Marietta Trolley Co. will shuttle people from the Marietta Square to the Cobb Civic Center during the August production of the musical comedy, “The Producers.”

The Downtown Marietta Development Authority agreed to pay the trolley company $4,500 for the service at its meeting Thursday.

The decision comes on the heels of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s decision to move from the Strand Theatre on the Square to the Civic Center.

DMDA Chairman Tom Browning said the deal is an effort to encourage theatergoers to keep visiting downtown restaurants on show nights.

“The demographics of theatergoers are spenders,” Browning said.

For an hour and half before and after shows, the service will run a continuous 1.2 mile loop with possibly two trolleys stopping at three locations on the Square.

Marketing of the service will be done by the Lyric to a large mailing list and posted on the group’s website.

Brown said a success will be 200 riders, out of the usually 350 to 400 people attending each show, using the complimentary trolley.

DMDA board member James Eubanks asked what will happen for the other five productions the Lyric has scheduled this season.

Brown suggested the city or a tourism organization could cover some of the cost.

The Lyric’s last show at the Strand is June 23. “The Producers” opens at the Civic Center on August 9.

Towing concerns

A parking lot on Anderson Street around the corner from Johnnie MacCraken’s Pub was described at the meeting as a location for predatory towing.

Philip Duke, owner of Lucky Draw Tattoo at 11 Atlanta St., said towing in the parking lot behind his building is so quick that a pizza delivery car was taken. Surrounding businesses helped to get the car back.

“I can’t bail everybody out,” said Duke, who is also an artist at the location he opened two years ago.

Duke said there are two full-time drivers in two trucks working “all day, every day,” who only accept cash payments to retrieve vehicles moved from the parking lot.

One of the owners of the lot is Chuck Clark, the husband of Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley. The space is managed by Bob Tillman.

In 2011, Tillman was booting vehicles and charging $125 for removal, until the City Council capped the fee at $50 in December 2011.

Now Tillman’s wife, Stacy Tillman, operates a towing business where cars are stored in a complex off Fairground Street and the South Loop.

Duke also complained about the lack of clear entrances or curbs for the lot, as well as a giant dropoff that lacks a guardrail.

Duke said he knows someone is going to get hurt by driving over the wall that has an eight-foot drop.

He told the board that the Marietta Police Department is no longer responding to calls from victims of the towing, saying it is a civil matter.

Duke said he’s heard tourists declare 10 times this month, “I will never come back to Marietta again.”

Duke asked the DMDA for help on who to contact to get existing state codes enforced on the property, such as ordinances on the number, placement and size of signs, as well as the language required to alert people that it is private parking.

Currently, there are two small signs on the exterior of two businesses next to the lot, he said.

The board members failed to give Duke a clear answer on who oversees this issue.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he is hesitant for his office or the City Council to act and overstep their roles.

Councilman Philip Goldstein, who sat in the audience, advised the DMDA to place a notice on the city right-of-way to warn visitors not to park there.
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Collin Cash
July 01, 2013
Although Cassandra Buckalew and her husband own the company, I am the person who handles all charters for the Historic Marietta Trolley Company (HMTC). It is evident that many people posting comments here have no knowledge of the charter vehicle business. Many of the comments are comparing what amounts to apples and oranges.

The HMTC only charges per person fees for our set tours and those fees and the tour routes are governed by the GA Public Service Commission.

Charters, on the other hand, are priced based on the day of the week and the amount of time needed, just as a bus or limo can be chartered and there are minimums set for the number of hours required. Regardless of how many people are riding a trolley during a charter, the HMTC must pay a driver for a minimum amount of time, as well as pay for gas and vehicle maintenance.

I would be happy to share our rate sheet detailing how much charters cost, and to share the names of several other transportation companies so that their rates can be obtained as well in order to illustrate to the uninformed just how a charter company operates.
Bad Math
June 16, 2013
Not $22.50 per person people. It would be if it was one night, but it's for the entire production which has 12 shows during a few weeks in August. Therefore if my math is correct....$4500 for 12 shows = $375 per show.....and $375 per show with 200 riders = a whopping $1.88 per rider. I'd call that a bargin.
June 17, 2013
I was wrong, but Browning is on crack if he thinks 200 people PER SHOW are going to ride that trolley.

I think they will be doing well to get 30 riders per show. That is still over $10 per person.

So, the truth will lie somewhere between.

June 16, 2013
Wow, Cass really worked you guys over...Let's see 200 riders at a cost of $4,500. That is a ride for $22.50 per person!

That is more than most entrees at the restaurants you are trying to prop up. They would have been better served if you gave them the cash.

You are either suffering from stupidity or cronyism. Take your pick.

Cassandra Buckalew
June 29, 2013
Not only is your math wrong, you're wrong about me, too. I haven't worked anyone over.

Have you checked into the cost of chartering a 30 passenger shuttle bus lately, or how about a limo? The article says the shuttle will run 1.5 hours before and after the shows which is incorrect. It will run two hours before and two hours after. $375 per night for 4 hours of service is about $94 an hour. If you do a little research, you'll see that's a pretty great rate for a vehicle that seats that many. There are costs to running a business. Aside from just paying the driver to drive it, I have permits and fees, gas, tires, maintenance, rent, and a multitude of other expenses you aren't even aware of.

Oh, and while I'm working everyone over, you might want to consider the FREE service I donated to the Strand for their last fundraiser, the FREE service I donated to the Visitors Bureau for their fundraiser, The Marietta Christmas Pilgrimage, the FREE service I donated to Honorary Commanders Association, the FREE service I donated to Cobb Young Professionals, the FREE service to Kiwanis for their last sunrise Easter service (just to name a very few), and the countless FREE tickets I give to EVERY single non-profit for their silent auction gift bags to help them raise money. ALL FREE!!

I've donated FREE trolley service to almost every non-profit on the Square for their fundraisers and many in Cobb. I give my time and resources to this community to make it a better place.

July 09, 2013
I think someone ate dementia for breakfast, this morning.
Be Careful
June 15, 2013
Let's see..... $4,500 for a "success" of 200 riders.

That's $22.50 per person to ride 1 1/2 miles.

You do realize that for this to work, theater goers have to park at the square. If they park at the civic center and ride the shuttle to the square after the show for dinner, they better eat quick cause the shuttle is only running for 1 1/2 hours after show time.

Someone at the MDJ...please do a follow up story to see if this was a success. Pole restaurants on the square the day after the show and see what happens. Please???
June 15, 2013
Since there will NEVER be enough parking for the merchants on the square, why not build a parking lot for the patrons who shop, eat on the square. As it is today, people are very turned off by the lack of parking and the towing of vehicles. I live 2 miles from the square and it dosen't interest me to go there.
June 17, 2013
you do realize that the County has two parking decks with a total of 10 stories of parking that are open and free daily after 5 p.m., right?
Lyric Subscriber
June 15, 2013
We will give the shuttle a try and continue to dine on the Square, but a little concerned about 1.5 hours to park at Civic Center, catch shuttle, ride to Square, order,eat,catch shuttle back to Civic and be seated in time for Blocker's opening comments ? How about 2 hours the first time ?
Just Wait
June 15, 2013
It is obvious that Marietta does not have an interest in promoting the downtown area if it continues to allow predatory towing and booting simply to let certain people line their pockets. There has to be better ways to protect private property misuse than this.
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