The PickUp WeHo party bus is ready to roll.
Officially set to debut this Friday, Aug. 16, WeHo’s free nightlife trolley had a soft launch on Friday, Aug. 9, providing a first look for reporters from multiple outlets. Joining them were West Hollywood Councilmembers John Heilman, John Duran and John D’Amico, and Mayor Abbe Land, along with project organizers, such as former council candidate Tristan Schukraft, who has been a big supporter of the project.
The free line, running Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., will make a four-mile long loop down Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, with a detour to the West Hollywood Library parking deck on San Vicente Boulevard. For now, the trolley will make a six-month “pilot” run.
On the outside, the bright yellow trolley is painted with Roy Lichtenstein-inspired pop art. On the inside, club music mixed by WeHo DJ Derek Monteiro blares over the speakers. In the works is a photo booth where you can instantly upload pix to social media.
The city hopes The PickUp will bring a playful transit option to one of WeHo’s busiest nighttime districts.
A number of gay bars are offering perks to the WeHo party bus patrons. They include: VIP entry to The Abbey, which means no waiting in line to get into one of the world’s most famous gay bars, plus two-for-one Abbey breakfast before noon; no cover and priority admission at Micky’s, one free appetizer with entree at Hugo’s; a $1 drink at Fubar, and half off a first drink at Here Lounge. New perks will be added weekly, according to the city.
The PickUp will officially debut on Aug. 16, with a launch event at 6 p.m. on the patios in front of Micky’s, Revolver and Eleven located at 8857, 8851 and 8811 Santa Monica Blvd. at Larrabee at 6 p.m. City officials will launch the PickUp at the corner of Larabee and Santa Monica Boulevard at 7:45 p.m. before the line officially begins running at 8 p.m.
If the pilot project is successful the city will consider options for the program to return and look for opportunities to partner with local businesses for sponsorship and advertising to fund it. The program was branded and named by Symblaze, Inc. American GTS, a transportation service based in the Greater Los Angeles area, will be the operators of the line. GTS plans to use its “All-American Classic Trolleys,” which seat 34 riders, one wheelchair rider and 10 standing riders.
The council members, concerned the buses may be too big, could later opt for smaller buses depending on the ridership numbers.
The six-month pilot program for the bus service will cost the city $110 per operating hour. The city is allocating $71,000 from the general fund to pay for the service.
Below, check out photographer Jon Viscott‘s photos from the trolley’s inaugural run.
ERROR: An earlier version of this story stated that Tristan Schukraft, a major advocate for the PickUp line project, was its originator. In fact, the project was initiated by council members John Duran and John D’Amico.