ABQ Trolley Co. today will introduce the newest member of its fleet – a spiffed-up 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that will allow the company to continue tours during what had previously been its off-season. Owners Mike Silva and Jesse Herron have dubbed the new 11-passenger van ABQ Trolley X and say it provides a warm, enclosed option for winter runs of its most popular tours and a size-appropriate choice for smaller-scale events.
The duo had previously kept an April-October tour schedule because their primary, 34-seat trolley features an open-air design. There are some exceptions – such as the annual holiday lights tours for which they provide blankets for customers – but owners say customers frequently sought other winter service.
“(We’re) definitely trying to keep up with demand,” Herron said. “Tourism slows down over these colder months, but there are still people clamoring for tours of Albuquerque.”
They will put the “X” trolley to use over the winter for their bestselling Best of ABQ City Tour and their heavily-publicized “Breaking Bad”-themed BaD ride. The new van will also mean the reintroduction of their brewery-centric Ale Trail, winery-focused Wine Trail and other events they’d pushed to the side due to the popularity of the other tours.
The X’s debut follows several other significant developments for the business Herron and Silva started in 2009. Earlier this year, they launched the Duke City Pedaler party bike. Just recently they also added a new walking tour, Albu-Quirky, and the Mother Road Bike Taxi. The growth prompted Herron and Silva to rebrand their larger operation the Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory. ABQ Trolley Co. and each of the other experiences comprise the company’s five divisions.
They also opened a small, new office in Downtown.
“This year has been a game-changer for sure,” said Silva, noting that they’re constantly seeking new ways to entertain.
“We feel there is a community to be served, both locally and (with) tourists, and we kind of look at ourselves as the go-to guys and go-to company for fun things to do in Albuquerque,” he said.
The company experienced rapid growth in its first couple of years, he said, and has continued to make small, steady gains since. It sees about 12,000 passengers/customers per year and employs eight people in addition to its owners. Tourists account for most of its trolley passengers – something they attribute to the company’s status as the top-ranked Albuquerque attraction on TripAdvisor. Locals have so far dominated party bike business.