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New Electric Trolleys Could Come to Downtown Pensacola this Month

People visiting downtown Pensacola may soon be able to hitch a ride on electric trolleys.

The Gulf Island National Seashore has offered the use of six electric shuttles, manufactured by the Florida-based Moto Electric Vehicles, to the city of Pensacola while it waits on the ferry service to begin in 2018.

Curt Morse, executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board, told the board at its meeting Tuesday he was working to have the trolleys put into service in downtown Pensacola by Memorial Day.

The details of the program are still being finalized with Escambia County Area Transit, the city of Pensacola and the Studer Community Institute, among others, Morse said.

The temporary trolley service will be similar to a pilot program that ran from November to December, which used full-sized trolleys from Pensacola Beach and drew more than 4,000 riders.

Morse said the size of the trolleys required a rethink.

"The challenge in route development was the size of those trolleys," Morse said. "It's difficult for them to operate in such a small compact dimension as our downtown streets. …This (new trolley) is essentially a souped-up golf cart."

The trolleys are two vehicles linked together and can hold 27 people, according to Dan Brown, superintendent of the Gulf Island National Seashore.

The Gulf Island National Seashore is providing the vehicles at no cost to the city or DIB.