Jefferson Transit approves $575k trolley bus purchase

Posted 12/31/69

The Jefferson Transit Authority Board unanimously approved the purchase of a nearly $575,000 trolley bus to expand transportation options in downtown Port Townsend.

While happy to add the new …

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Jefferson Transit approves $575k trolley bus purchase


The Jefferson Transit Authority Board unanimously approved the purchase of a nearly $575,000 trolley bus to expand transportation options in downtown Port Townsend.

While happy to add the new trolley to the fleet, the authority board was much less thrilled about its diesel-powered engine.

“Part of the process in purchasing this bus was trying to retrofit it as an electric. We were not able to do that with the timeline that we had for using these grant funds,” said Miranda Nash, interim finance manager for Jefferson Transit. “We are well aware that the direction is electric, and for all future purchases, that’s our primary consideration.”

The trolley bus — coming with a $574,002 price tag — was approved 5-0 by the authority board at its Tuesday, Oct. 18 meeting. The funding will come from the transit municipality’s capital reserve funds, along with grant monies.

Jefferson Transit had planned for the purchase in its 2022 capital budget, although due to the final price tag being around $60,000 higher than expected, the move had to be formally approved by the authority board.

The transit authority had initially budgeted $513,141 for the trolley bus, but add-ons like a cow catcher, brass-powdered coated stanchions, wood-trimmed electrical box, along with sales tax and extended warranty costs drove the final price up to $575,000.

The board expressed disappointment in the trolley bus being diesel-powered, considering the purchase goes against the group’s long-term plans to electrify the bus fleet.

“We first set into motion the purchase of the trolley in 2019, and that was well before we had started on our path of electrifying our fleet,” said Nicole Gauthier, interim general manager for Jefferson Transit. “We’re a little too far along to take it back.”

Some we’re not thrilled with the trolley purchase.

“I’m somewhat disappointed to see the purchase of a trolley and it not being, specifically, an electric trolley,” said Tom Thiersch. “It goes against all the climate action stuff, it goes against state policy, it’s just the wrong way to go.”

Due to the “use it or lose it” limitations for the state grant funds, the transit authority was caught between a rock and a hard place, along with having to consider the supply chain challenges of obtaining a new bus, as well.

The trolley is expected to be used for downtown shuttle services, though Jefferson Transit has not yet offered specifics on routes, times, and services.


4 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • TomT

    If the goal was to recreate a Victorian omnibus, a horse-drawn vehicle would be period-accurate.

    Be assured that I will remind voters of this major mistake when the transportation district asks us to approve its continued taxing authority.

    Friday, November 4, 2022 Report this

  • ecorep

    Our award-winning local newspaper, page one records an historically bad decisions after the horse has left the barn. While the rest of the world is accelerating toward self driving electric car and Trucks,........OUR transit anchors us to the past presumably with the Okie Dookie of our County Commissioners.

    Historians will pose many questions, listen up Leader, the least of which is," who are these people working for"

    While censorship doesn't allow me to say What is going on, over a half a million dollars of useful money just flew out the door. Lighted car parks, small electric vehicles, covered bus stops all going somewhere else, and you can bet the excuses start NOW.

    Friday, November 4, 2022 Report this

  • Snowball_InHawaii

    That's trolley folley!

    Friday, November 4, 2022 Report this

  • MargeS

    Not a Trolley, but there was a company called the Port Townsend Electric Railway company. "Port Townsend Electric Railway Company's Water, Lawrence and Scott Street line is pictured here. In another 1880s frenzy of speculation, three street car lines were built to serve both existing and anticipated neighborhoods. Speculators finance the lines as a means of making their subdivisions more easily accessible, but the population never grew to support the service." Images of America, Port Townsend, page 36. They didn't last very long, some things never change.

    Friday, November 4, 2022 Report this