Also along for the ride: Rodents of unusual size.

It's big, it's green, and it's not a bus, car share, streetcar, or light rail line. It's the Emerald City Trolley, linking downtown with far-off neighborhoods. You know, for tourists.

The company, which launched operations today, will run five cars on three lines, all starting from near the Experience Music Project. A north line runs to Ballard and Fremont, an express route speeds south to the Museum of Flight, and a waterfront tour goes to Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square.

The vehicles themselves are wheeled (they don't run on tracks) and have both indoor and open-air sections. Every car is staffed with a guide tossing out Seattle trivia and tourist advice. Tickets start at $45 for two days of unlimited service, so locals are unlikely to start hopping the trolley instead of Metro Transit.

The company behind the service, Seattle Hospitality Group, also operates tourism heavies like the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. The trolley is the only service of its kind since the Gray Line double-decker bus tour recently announced it was ceasing operations; it's also the first trolley action Ballard and Fremont have seen since the 1960s.

Tickets are available on any vehicle or at a semi-permanent stand (also shaped like a green trolley, but a mini one) on Pike Street near Second Avenue. The service is summer-only, running today through September 29.

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