After trial runs, Corbin Trolley to run very soon
Corbin’s trolley bus may be hitting the road for real on December 1.
Corbin Downtown Director Andy Salmons said the 16 stops have been finalized and final testing is ongoing in preparation for the startup next week.
“That is our goal,” Salmons said. “As with anything, it could change.”
Salmons said the trolley is currently travelling about town in an effort to ensure the vehicle is up to the task of travelling the route on a daily basis without suffering any major mechanical difficulties and to permit one of the drivers to log the required hours behind the wheel prior to taking his road test to secure his commercial drivers license.
With only one driver, Kim Dozier, currently available, Salmons said the trolley will initially operate 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
Once the second driver becomes available, days of operation will expand to Monday through Saturday.
The 14-mile route runs between Trademart Shopping Center and the hotels off of Exit 25.
Stops include: Trademark, the parking lot next to Forcht Bank on Master Street, the original KFC, Kentucky Street near Nibroc Park, Pizza & Company parking lot, Hometown Bank parking lot on Falls Hwy., Baptist Health Corbin near the main entrance, the Econo Lodge, Red Roof Inn, Best Western and Holiday Inn Express hotels, Corbin Tourism Center, Forest Hills Shopping Center, W.D. Bryant, First Street in downtown near The Depot on Main, and McBurney Manor on Master Street.
Salmons said the route will take approximately 48 minutes to complete.
Riders will initially be able to secure a “day pass” for $1.
“We want people to ride it,” Salmons said. “We want feedback and ideas on what we can do better.”
“Come June or July will be the real deal route,” Salmons said. “It will be exactly what riders have asked for.”
Salmons said at that point, a per trip price will be set based on the average number people of riding the trolley with the goal of the operation breaking even.
The daily cost to operate the trolley, including the wages and benefits to the drivers, is estimated at $160.
“Over the course of the next six months we plan on rolling out in the trolley advertising as well as more robust ticketing system to offset the costs,” Salmons said. “The ultimate goal will be for the trolley program to move beyond the break-even point and begin generating revenue for the future growth of the program.”
Salmons said the evaluation process as to whether the trolley program is a good long-term use of tax dollars will begin from the first day.
“But I do believe that within a year to a year and half we will have enough data throughout multiple seasons to determine if the trolley program is viable,” Salmons said. “We may make several changes to the program during that time to optimize its performance and ability to absorb expenses.”
Salmons said there are not concrete plans to use the trolley, outside of its normal route, during events at The Arena.
However, Salmons did not rule that out in the future.
“We are currently researching and brainstorming ways to use the trolley to support arena events,” Salmons said adding that one possibility being explored is using it as a shuttle service to and from the parking lot near the Corbin Center.
“We also have to consider the impact it will have to disrupt regular service,” Salmons said.
Salmons said the trolley service has several goals.
First is to give visitors to the city a unique and easier way to experience some of what Corbin has to offer.
“Hopefully, it compels them to tell others about Corbin and they eventually return to our fine city,” Salmons said.
Second, is to allow citizens of Corbin an additional mobility option.
“Sometimes you just want to leave your car at home and we hope that the trolley expands the options for our citizens to explore the town and visit different places,” Salmons said.
“I also want to stress that the trolley program is in its infancy and we want to improve it over time. We are definitely open to suggestions and recommendations to make the route more inclusive and efficient. We hope that the people of Corbin will take great pride in the trolley program and help us make it a pleasant experience for visitors and locals alike.”