VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Instead of catching the bus at the Oceanfront, you’ll soon be able to ride a trolley.
Those who have been in the area for a while may remember trolleys in the resort city before they were replaced by buses in 2008. City officials say ridership fell more than 30 percent when trolleys left, so now they’re bringing them back.
“It adds a nuance to the overall feel of the resort, but recognizing the appropriate vehicle has to be met with the appropriate route, and this is more appropriate than what we have now,” Councilman John Uhrin said.
Tuesday night, City Council unanimously decided to expedite the process, which does away with a previous two-phase plan. Uhrin said the expedited plan is a cheaper and more efficient option, and it will bring all 14 trolleys to the Oceanfront at the same time. The trolleys will replace the current hybrid HRT buses traveling the route along the beach.
WAVY.com talked to Virginia Beach Transportation and Transit Manager Brian Solis about what you can expect.
“All of [the trolleys] will have that wooden type look of the San Francisco street car, they’ll very much look like that,” Solis said. “There’s going to be a half of them that’s open air, open to the elements, the front half for those that want a conditioned environment will have air conditioning and they’ll be enclosed.”
The expedited plan also allows for payment of all of the trolleys at once. A little over half of that financing will come from a state grant, with the city picking up the balance from a tourism investment program. Virginia Beach could begin seeing the trolleys as soon as April.