Toots founder plans 'gold coast' routes
THE man behind the popular road train 'Toots' in Malahide is bidding to expand his empire and run new routes from Malahide to Swords, Portmarnock and Howth, connecting what he calls 'Fingal's gold coast'.
The little orange road train 'Toots' has proven to be a massive hit in Malahide, linking all the popular tourist spots in the town and providing huge colour and enjoyment to the coastal village.
Now, with a collection of vehicles, Michael Place, founder of 'Toots', is bidding to expand his road-going trolley services beyond Malahide.
Using a combination of electric vehicles on the route out to Swords from Malahide and road 'trams' from the village to Portmarnock and Howth, Mr Place is bidding to provide a sort of 'rail service on wheels' that will ultimately link along the coast from Swords right down to Howth.
The Toots founder has submitted his plans to the National Transport Authority and Fingal County Council and hopes the project can make a significant impact on tourist business right along the Fingal coastline.
In the coming weeks, he has lined up further meetings with local tourism officials to discuss his plans and perhaps integrate the new service into a phased opening up of Swords Castle to tourists.
Mr Place told the Fingal Independent he was 'excited' about the Swords service and connecting the dots to deliver access all along the 'gold coast' of Fingal to people from Swords, where he lives himself.
There are legal and funding hurdles to be negotiated but the plans are being advanced with the purchase of the electric vehicles for the Swords route and meetings planned to secure American-style road 'trams' for the Portmarnock and Howth routes.
While all of that is going on in the background, Michael's existing road train Toots is still hard at work.
Toots recently delighted the people of Rush with an appearance at the popular harbour festival.
The road train's appearance in the Rush Harbour Festival was kindly sponsored by local solicitor Dermot McNamara and gave the people of north Fingal a taste of what the residents of Malahide have been enjoying since Toots hit their streets.
The little orange road train has been visiting festivals all over Fingal over the summer and proved a big hit wherever it went.
Next stop for Toots is even further afield when the Malahide road train takes up a 48-day residency over the Christmas period in Avondale House in Avoca for a Christmas-themed Santa Village.