CTA, Biloxi to christen new hybrid electric trolleys

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway will use a bottle of Barq’s Root Beer Friday morning to christen one of the Coast Transit Authority’s new hybrid electric trolleys, a vehicle that CTA will eventually use in park-and-ride operations in downtown Biloxi and Gulfport.

CTA, using more than a half-million dollars in state and federal funds, purchased two of the Ebus Hybrid Electric Trolleys and is introducing the 22-foot long trolleys on its Beachcomber route, which travels along U.S. 90.

“These buses look very similar to the diesel-powered trolleys we use now, and they’ll be just as comfortable for passengers,” said Kevin Coggin of CTA. “The best things about them are that they are extremely quiet, they’re environmentally friendly, and not one dime in local tax dollars was used to buy them.”

The christening ceremony will take place Friday at 11:30 a.m. in front of City Hall in Biloxi. The public is also invited to tour the bus after the brief ceremony.

The trolleys, which cost $518,000, will eventually be used in park-and-ride stations that will be constructed in Gulfport in January and in Biloxi in Summer 2004.

The buses use the latest technology in ultra low-emission public transit vehicles, Coggin said. “The drive train system consists of an electric motor powered by two NiCad battery packs. The battery packs are kept fully charged by a propane-fueled micro turbine-driven generator.”

The buses are currently running on a part time basis on the Beachcomber line and will be in full service beginning Aug. 18. They will replace two diesel-powered Trolleys that operate on U.S. 90 in Biloxi.

Funding for the buses was provided by the Federal Transit Administration, the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi Alternative Energy Enterprise.