Members of the GW community now can climb aboard the new University trolley after a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the balloon-adorned Kogan Plaza Friday.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you’re hearing a new sound that will be familiar on campus, the ring of the new trolley bell,” said Bob Chernak, vice president of Student Academic Support Services and master of ceremonies for the event, which more than 50 people attended.
Chernak said the trolley, with shiny new buff and blue paint, will replace the services of the London-style double-decker bus previously used for tours and special events.
After eight years of touring Foggy Bottom, the double-decker bus became mechanically unreliable and needed a replacement, Chernak said.
Assistant Director of Admissions Mindy Nichols clipped the trolley-door ribbon, officially opening the trolley to campus tours six days a week.
The trolley will run at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday for visitors to take a tour of the city.
The trolley made its inaugural campus rounds and transported students to SASStival, a festival held on the Mount Vernon campus Friday afternoon. Nichols said administrators will “fire up” the trolley for other special events, like Colonial Inauguration.
Student Association President Phil Meisner was present to cut the trolley-shaped cake and enjoy the fanfare.
“This is an embodiment of the campus – a symbol,” he said. Meisner said the new sleek, streamlined trolley is more avant-garde than its older counterpart.
“On the whole, I think it’s going to benefit everyone,” he said.
After the ribbon cutting, Chernak “christened” the trolley by breaking a ceremonial champagne bottle on its side.
Students and faculty present at the unveiling climbed aboard to peek at the trolley’s wooden interior and padded bench seats.
Some students liked the new ride.
“It’s nice to have something like a trolley on a city campus to tone down the urban atmosphere,” freshman Jamie Burgess said.
“I think it’s going to give GW a kind of old world flavor,” said freshman Amanda Hill.
Chernak said some logo paint and other small features are still pending on the diesel-powered trolley.
“It still needs a few little so-called `bells and whistles,’ but we’re just happy to have it up and running,” Chernak said.
While the trolley is geared to serve campus visitors, Chernak said students will benefit from the trolley.
“Part of it is certainly a little bit market-oriented,” Chernak said. “But it’s more to respond to the transportation needs of students.”
Rob Kram, Admissions office employee and part-time student, said he likes the image the trolley gives GW.
“I think it’s a great promotion for the University,” he said. “I think it does a lot for the visitors that come and gives them a good first impression.”
Junior Mike Plostock said he liked the double-decker bus but was ready to see the future set in motion.
“I think it will be a new thing as far as tradition,” he said. “I think they should start using it for more than just tours, so more people would connect with it and associate with it.”