You might say that Tim Batzloff loves telling stories about Indianapolis.
After all, that’s what he does three times a day, six days a week as the driver for Indy Fun Trolley Tours, which he owns.
Batzloff has been a trolley driver for three years, but he didn’t take over operations of the company until March 17.
“I really like telling stories about Indy, and that’s easy for me because I am a talkative person,” said Batzloff, who joked that two things don’t stop during his 75-minute tours — the wheels on his trolley and his mouth.
He has brushed up on his knowledge of Indianapolis so he can provide the most informative tours possible.
Tours depart at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from Dick’s Last Resort restaurant, 111 W. Maryland St., and proceed to slowly roll past some of the city’s most famous landmarks. “I don’t blaze past anything because I don’t want anybody to miss something along the way.”
The most popular and only stop is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where passengers can visit the Hall of Fame Museum.
Foreigners may not speak or understand a word of English, “But when they get to the track, they know where they are,” Batzloff said. “They are always amazed at how big it is. One guy – he was from Portugal or Brazil – started cheering when we got there.”
Other sites along the route include Veterans Memorial Plaza, the Indiana War Memorial, Lucas Oil Stadium, Victory Field, the Indianapolis Zoo, Monument Circle, the Indiana Central Canal, White River State Park, the 9/11 Memorial and American Legion Plaza.
“I give people an appetizer of what Indy is like. I show them some nice places, which are just a tidbit of the all great things to see. Obviously we can’t see everything, so I mention Crown Hill Cemetery, the Children’s Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Massachusetts Avenue and other sites. My passengers leave with a better outlook of the city,” said Batzloff, a self-proclaimed ambassador for Indianapolis.
Things are going well for Batzloff, but he said there is always room for more business. “The weather hasn’t been cooperating. March and April were cold, and people don’t like to go on tours in cold weather. I got rained on today (Sunday).
“My business is driven by conventions. Most of my passengers are from out of town, but that doesn’t mean local people can’t enjoy my tours while learning something about the city.”
In addition to offering tours, Batzloff’s trolley can be rented for private tours and wedding parties. “People can go to wherever they want to on the private tours.” He’ll provide haunted tours to the Historic Hanna House in October and to the Christmas lights at the IMS in December.
Regular tours cost $10 for children, $18 for seniors and current or retired military members, $20 for adults. Tickets can be reserved by visiting www.indyfuntours.com. Additional information is available by calling 317-617-8617.
Batzloff, who hails from Sterling Heights, Michigan, near Detroit, moved into an old farmhouse in White River Township in Johnson County in 1995. “Hoosier Hospitality is the real thing, not just a slogan. I like living here.”
He is employed part time by FedEx and occasionally drives a bus for Center Grove Schools. He and his wife of 27 years, Carol, have two daughters, Anne, who attends the University of Indianapolis, and Jamie, who studies at IUPUI.
Batzloff brags that his trolley is nearly 100 percent Hoosier. “It was made in Goshen, Ind.; the diesel engine was made at Cummins in Columbus; and the transmission was made at Allison.”
The trolley, a replica representative of a 1929 trolley, is not easy to miss, he said. “It’s unique and people always do a double take when they see it.”