New residents to roll through Lexington



By Marc Blevins

Walking around downtown Lexington, residents may have become accustomed to seeing plenty of blue and white. Now, they may be noticing a new presence — old-fashioned trolleys.

On Friday, LexTran will begin running five new public buses that resemble old-fashioned trolleys and can accommodate 25 passengers, including those with disabilities.

The trolley-bus service, called the COLT Trolley, is free to passengers and will run along two routes – the Green Route, between UK and Transylvania University down South Limestone, and the Blue Route, running along Main and Vine streets between Thoroughbred and Triangle parks, according to the COLT Trolley schedule.

The Green Route begins on Avenue of Champions, between South Limestone and South Martin Luther King Boulevard, and ends at Third Street.

Casey Hutchinson, a UK alumnus, said the service is convenient to those living around campus.

“The trolley would make it much easier for folks around the campus area to visit downtown Lexington for lunch or shopping,” Hutchinson said.

The perpendicular routes run every 10 minutes on weekdays from 11:30 am until 2:00 p.m. Evening service runs Thursday through Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m. on the Blue Route and 8 p.m on the Green Route.

During a news conference on March 26 announcing the trolleys, LexTran’s General Manager Rocky Burke said the project is a collaborative effort.

“From the funding for the vehicles, to the community input, to working out all the details to put the vehicles on the streets, it showed how working together really can work,” Burke said.

Each hybrid trolley cost $550,000, while diesel trolleys cost $375,000 each, Burke said. The life expectancy for the trolleys is about 12 years.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant made the trolleys possible, Burke said.

Hutchinson said he hopes the trolleys will help downtown businesses.

“I think it would be a big boost for downtown businesses (that) sometimes suffer from a lack of parking,” Hutchinson said. “The trolley would allow people living and working in the campus area to visit downtown Lexington and not be stuck without parking when they get back.”