- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln will soon see trolleys again after a more than 70-year absence since residents regularly used them as a mode of transportation.

The city’s public transit bus system, StarTran, plans to buy two compressed natural gas trolleys, three buses and a driver simulator with a $2 million Federal Transit Administration grant, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1Zcs9AJ ) reported.

The new trolleys will have rubber tires and operate like a bus instead of riding on tracks or being attached to overhead trolley wires.

“Trolleys have their own identity,” said Mike Davis, city transit manager. “They tend to be fun to ride, and they attract riders to them.”

The rear of the trolley buses will be open air in the summer, but they will remain air-conditioned in the front seats, David said.

“It kind of has that fun feel to it,” he said.

Davis said StarTran uses 13 compressed natural gas buses on its routes on the University of Nebraska’s campus and that they generate 20 percent less greenhouse gas than regular buses.

“We found these vehicles to be quieter,” he said.

StarTran has issued a request for proposals for the trolleys, which will run on a route that goes through downtown. StarTran hopes to begin using them in early 2017.

Lincoln had electric streetcars from 1883 to 1945, said Ed Zimmer, historic preservation planner for the city. He said buses started aggressively replacing trolleys after World War II because less gasoline and other mechanical parts used on buses were needed for combat zone vehicles.

In the 90s, the city had a contract with Good Life Coaches for a trolley, known as Molley the Trolley. After nine years, it stopped running in 2005.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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