One year after initial plans for Corbin’s trolley bus were presented to the city commission, the commissioners approved a motion to hire two full-time drivers and operation is expected to begin within the month.
At a special called meeting of the commission last Thursday, the commissioners voted unanimously to hire Joe Beacher and David Pennington.
When commissioners asked Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams why he selected Beacher and Pennington, Sams said they were the only two that applied.
Sams said Beacher has his commercial driver’s license (CDL) and must take the test to be certified to drive passenger vehicles.
Pennington must obtain his CDL and passenger vehicle certification.
“We are trying to get them scheduled and enrolled for that,” said Corbin Downtown Director Andy Salmons, noting the signs denoting the 16 stops are being fabricated by the Corbin Public Works Department and will be installed in the near future.
Salmons said the exact location of the stops are still being finalized
The route will run from the hotels off of Exit 25 to the Trademart Shopping Center and back, taking approximately 45 minutes to cover the loop.
“You should not have to wait more than 30 minutes for the trolley,” Salmons said, noting the vicinity of the stops should permit riders to catch it going in one direction or the other.
“Our eventual goal is to have an app to track the trolley,” Salmons said.
The cost to ride the trolley will be $1. Salmons said that will give the rider all-day access.
The trolley will initially operate Thursday through Saturday with future plans expanding operations to Monday through Saturday.
“We have not completely defined the operating hours but it will likely be starting slightly before noon and run into the night,” Salmons said, adding that constructive feedback on ways to improve operation is welcome and encouraged.
“We are all ears,” Salmons said.
Salmons said the goal is to provide visitors to Corbin an easy way to reach the downtown and shopping areas of Corbin and to also provide some public transportation to residents.
Salmons previously estimated the cost to operate the trolley at $43.20 per day.
Each driver will make $10 per hour plus benefits.
The trolley can accommodate up to 30 people at a time.
“We will be analyzing and tweaking from day one,” Salmons said. I want it to operate at least at a break-even point.”
Salmons said Owensboro has a similar operation making loops through its downtown.
Owensboro officials said the city’s trolley runs a continuous loop from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Owensboro officials secured a federal transportation grant that funds the trolley operation. As a result, there is not charge to ride the Owensboro trolley.
Corbin downtown program purchased the trolley from Eastern Kentucky University for $6,325 in July 2015.
The cost of operation will be paid for out of the Downtown program’s budget.