Hopping aboard a trolley to see Jefferson City’s most magical destinations.
In 2022, Chris and Stephanie Bell’s passion for the community drove them to purchase The Trolley Company from previous owners Michel and Donna Deetz, who were ready to retire after running the company for a decade. What started with a learning curve of adapting to the processes of booking drives, scheduling drivers, and maintaining the trolleys morphed into a passion project of sorts over time.
The Trolley Company provides city residents and tourists alike with three different ride options: capitol drives, wedding drives, and holiday lights tours.
“There are four trolleys in our fleet, and all have specific and unique names that were bestowed upon them by the previous owners,” Chris says. “Haley is the parade trolley, Bettie and Kathleen make up the ‘twin’ trolleys, and Amelia is the largest in the group with the ability to hold up to 30 passengers.”
Chris and Stephanie pride themselves on making several improvements to the booking process for The Trolley Company. Their goal is to streamline the entire process, thus making it more mobile-friendly with many online options. In addition to overhauling the bookings of their new company, they’ve also opted to spruce up the trolleys, primarily the interiors. Many of the trolleys had damaged woodwork due to inclement weather throughout the years, so waterproofing the trolleys was at the forefront of Chris and Stephanie’s to-do list.
“We’ve fully renovated two of the three trolleys that were destined for a makeover, and we are confident that the third will be finalized before the holiday season, which is our busiest time of year.”
The Trolley Company provides city residents and tourists alike with three different ride options: capitol drives, wedding drives, and holiday lights tours. The capitol drives option transports various groups to and from the Missouri State Capitol building for their respective advocacy days. The wedding drives are routine and popular throughout much of the calendar year. The biggest attraction, however, is the holiday lights tour that The Trolley Company hosts throughout December. Guests can utilize the holiday rides to experience the Capital City Festival of Lights at Binder Park. They can also enjoy the thrill of climbing aboard the trolley when it’s decorated and themed after the “Polar Express” for the Downtown Living Windows event each year.
The Holiday Lights Tours begin the first week of December, with up to four tours being offered each night to get guests into the holiday spirit. With over an hour and a half of beautiful holiday cheer, there’s no shortage of festivity.
“We generally book by the group first; then, we open up the tours to individual ticket purchases, pending availability,” Chris says.
Last year, their calendar was nearly full, so scheduling rides sooner rather than later is recommended. But there’s no need to wait until the holidays roll around each year to book a ride on a trolley. Kids tend to love the whimsy and magic of the trolleys, so hosting a birthday party on one could be a perfect way to make a special day even more extraordinary. The trolleys also make gorgeous, old-timey backdrops for special photo sessions. Be it for a wedding party, family photos, or an engagement session, capturing photos in front of these gorgeous trolleys elevates the photos to a new level. Additionally, Chris and Stephanie are prone to throw in special events throughout the year. For example, a popular tour that they host is the Pizza and Pub Tour which shuttles guests throughout the city, highlighting some of the best venues and satisfying a taste for something delicious.
Riding a trolley isn’t just about getting from one place to another, it’s about enjoying the journey in a uniquely timeless way.
With so much to offer to the community of Jefferson City and the surrounding areas, The Trolley Company is a unique business that allows residents and visitors alike to experience the capital city in a new and adventurous way. Riding a trolley isn’t just about get-ting from one place to another, it’s about enjoying the journey in a uniquely timeless way.