LIMA — The newest addition to the Allen County Regional Transit Authority’s fleet evokes memories of days gone by.
The RTA has acquired a refurbished 1991 Chance trolley from Tecumseh, Michigan, for $46,000. Funding was made available after receiving compensation for a bus that caught fire late last year.
“We were able to buy two 1998 Gillig buses from another transit facility and the trolley with that money,” RTA executive director Sheila Schmitt said. “We just lucked out because it’s a Chance, and Chance is no longer in business, so these trolleys with the wooden benches are getting harder and harder to find, especially a used one.”
The trolley arrived in Lima on Tuesday, and the RTA plans on changing the signage, currently labeled “Downtown Area Shuttle” to hearken back to the Lima Electric Co. trolleys used in the city during the early 20th century.
“Our intention is to use it for community functions, community events, events for nonprofit organizations, that kind of stuff,” Schmitt said. “I’ve contacted Sign Solutions to come down and look at it and figure out how to get ‘Lima, Ohio’ on there. We’re looking at the old trolley that we have pictures of, maybe putting ‘North Main’ on there, as well. We’re still bouncing around a lot of ideas.”
Once the trolley is ready, Schmitt hopes to hold a more formal news conference to introduce the public to the trolley, which Schmitt hopes will make its initial Lima run during the city’s July 4th celebrations.
“We’re really excited about it,” she said. “The hotels have approached me on several occasions to provide some kind of shuttle service to the hotels during events at the Civic Center or the fairgrounds. We’ve been tossing that idea around, and we’re definitely going to do the Lantern Tour in October along with the 4th of July. We’re also talking about doing a New Year’s Eve shuttle. We have to look at the cost of paying a driver and things like that, and we don’t want to go too overboard.”