Trolley coming to Columbiana

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, November 14, 2013


COLUMBIANA – The city of Columbiana purchased a trolley last week, which will be used to provide transportation to high-volume, high-traffic places throughout the city.

Although new trolleys cost $205,000 on average, Columbiana was able to purchase a used trolley from the city of Charlotte, N.C., for $28,500, said Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley on Nov. 14. Handley said the trolley is one of several the city of Charlotte no longer uses after a trolley route was discontinued there this summer. The trolley is in good condition according to Charlotte maintenance workers, he said.

The idea for a city transportation system came to Handley while he was running for city council about five years ago, when he noticed that people living in apartment complexes lacked easy access to places like grocery stores, doctors’ offices and the post office, he said.

“I knew (the transportation system) would have to be modest, but it seemed like there was a need for something like that, and the trolley seemed to fit in with the ambiance of the town,” Handley said. “If this thing is successful, I think it will become a trademark of Columbiana and something that local people will love and visitors will enjoy.”

The trolley is expected to arrive in Columbiana by next weekend, and once it arrives, Handley said the first order of business will be to make needed cosmetic changes and ensure the trolley is in good condition.

Barring any major hiccups, Handley said he hopes to be able to showcase the trolley in the Christmas parade and have a route up-and-running in spring 2014. Route stops are expected to include Piggly Wiggly, the post office, doctors’ offices, banks, apartment complexes, schools, downtown, sports complexes and other high-volume areas.

“I will have to get together with the police chief (to determine safe stopping points),” he said. “So we’ve got a lot of planning to do.”

Handley also said he hopes to run the trolley using volunteer drivers with passenger commercial drivers’ licenses, with drivers working one four-hour shift per week.

“The pay will be low, but the fun will be great,” he said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to drive the trolley once it is up-and-running should contact Handley at 669-4131 or 669-5804.