New shuttle service rolls into downtown

Published 12:06 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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Former City of Washington Public Works Director Adam Waters has an electric idea to solve parking problems in downtown Washington. He’s started a free shuttle service that takes riders from their car door to the front door of nearby shops and restaurants. 

Being that he’s a Beaufort County native and retired City of Washington employee, he’s heard a myriad of complaints about parking downtown which is why he created Tar Pamlico Trolley. 

“We would always get complaints about the parking downtown Washington,” Waters said. “So thinking through some of that, I decided it would be nice if Washington had a shuttle service that would move people from some of the outlying parking lots into the center of the city where people wanted to eat and shop.” 

Parking became a prevalent issue starting about five years ago when the City of Washington made aesthetic improvements to downtown as part of its Streetscape plan. The plan, introduced in 2018, made improvements and upgrades to sidewalks, landscaping and reconfiguration of the intersection of Gladden Street, West Main Street and Stewart Parkway. This was done in an effort to advance economic development downtown. 

“Since the Streetscape project, activity downtown has increased tremendously. The downtown area is growing. There’s more businesses coming in and fewer empty stores,” Water said. With more people coming to shop and dine, parking becomes more constrained. While they are lots just beyond Main Street going westward, many people do not want to use them, because it means having to walk three or four blocks. 

“By offering this service, it gives them an option to use those parking lots and shuttle in where they want to be.” 

Tar Pamlico Trolley’s coverage area expands from Third Street to the waterfront and Hackney Avenue to Havens Gardens. Waters is open to expanding the coverage area if needed. 

And yes, Tar Pamlico Trolley really is a free service. Waters uses an electric golf cart which helps keep costs at a minimum. Riders are asked to tip their drivers. At this time, Waters and a second driver run the trolley. 

“As far as shuttling people around, that will always be a free service. Doing tours and private events, we’ll charge for that,” Waters said.  

Tar Pamlico Trolley is available for private events at a cost. Those interested in hiring Tar Pamlico Trolley will need to contact Waters for a quote. 

Waters is partnering with other locals like Leesa Jones with Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad to offer paid, historic tours of Washington. 

Tar Pamlico Trolley opened for business on Thursday, May 16. Waters has been pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback he’s received on Facebook. “There’s been a lot of positive energy around town and on Facebook with the service,” Waters said.

Happy patrons have called Waters and Tar Pamlico Trolley a “lifesaver.” Some commenters have started booking Waters for their weddings later this year. 

Tar Pamlico Trolley runs from Thursday to Sunday starting at 11 a.m. and runs until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Waters can be reached at 252-833-2698 or at