Trolley-style hybrid buses coming to Jonesboro

by George Jared ([email protected]) 1,680 views 

The city of Jonesboro is about to have hybrid, trolley-style buses on its streets. The city of Jonesboro received a $878,584 grant for five low- or no-emission trolley-style buses from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Several details such as when the buses will start operating and where are not known at this time, city of Jonesboro spokesman Bill Campbell told Talk Business & Politics. Some of those details will be dictated by supply chain issues and other factors that can’t be precisely predicted at this point, he said.

New trolley hybrids that can carry up to 30 passengers at a time cost between $188,000 to $233,000 based on options and which company is used, according to estimates from Hometown Trolley, a company based in Wisconsin.

Mayor Harold Copenhaver said the funding will help Jonesboro’s long-term JET program transition to future fuel opportunities.

“This is a victory for the long-term future of Jonesboro,” Copenhaver said. “Hybrid vehicles will become critical in the not too distant future, and we want to improve not only the quality but the appearance of our JET fleet.”

The total includes a 15% match by the city.

Grants and Community Development Director Regina Burkett and staff applied for the grant last spring, seeing Federal Transportation Authority opportunities for funding of new technologies that reduce emissions. Out of 530 nationwide applicants, 150 cities were awarded.

“First I want to acknowledge Regina Burkett and our grants team for securing this funding. That department exists because we are committed to bringing back home as much of our federal tax dollars as possible. This funding, in combination with our recent grant for upgraded bus stops, go hand in hand. This will modernize our JET system and make it more efficient, more attractive and more user friendly,” Copenhaver said.

As the transportation industry transitions to new technologies that will reduce emissions, the FTA is providing funding for transit agencies to help retrain existing workers and recruit and train new workers.

“Obviously, our fleet is aging and in need of replacement. It has served 60,000 riders already this year, and public transportation is critical when new or expanding industry considers a location. So this will greatly offset the cost to the Jonesboro taxpayer,” the mayor added.