The Hattiesburg Trolley is run by Grove Transit and goes by Brewsky’s, the Keg and Barrel, the End Zone, the Porter, the Thirsty Hippo, Mahogany Bar, Glory Bound and multiple campus spots including Fraternity and Sorority Row.
The idea for the Hattiesburg Trolley began as a grassroots project created by local neighborhood sponsors and State Representative Toby Barker. These sponsors came together two to three times a year for events such as New Year’s Eve to provide safe ways to get home for Hattiesburg residents going out to downtown and midtown. The Trolley is a non-profit organization that runs on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Grove Transit is one of the top non-emergency transit companies in the area with offices scattered around Mississippi. The sponsors reached out to Dan Reid, President and managing member of Grove Transit, to use their vans. After this idea, the Downtown Association came together with the sponsors and Grove Transit to propose a way to have free ongoing transportation around Hattiesburg for Fridays and Saturdays.
Shortly after, Grove Transit bought a van equipped with leather bed booths, a television and neon lights, for a safe and cool weekend transportation for Hattiesburg residents on the town. The group came together to buy the van to run initially and then went around to different restaurants and bars to promote sponsorship for the trolley.
On the Hattiesburg Trolley, there is a television that displays local events going on around from music at local bars, like the Thirsty Hippo, to crawfish boils going on. The trolley even offers early transportation for Live at Five, so students and Hattiesburg residents have the opportunity to get Downtown for the event with safe transportation home.
“I thought the community would benefit from the bus. The city’s transportation doesn’t run at night.” Reid said, “So, we feel this is something to offer to the citizens of Hattiesburg to support the sponsors, because they are the blood of the trolley, as we are. I would encourage everyone to utilize it whether it be from USM to midtown.”
For trolley users reassurance, the trolley has a tracker on the website to locate which stop the trolley is and how far it is from you. The tracker enables riders to time their departures and arrivals of the route that loops around to pick people back up.
“The party bus was super cool,” entertainment industry management major Randy Riley said. “The guy driving (Brendan) is very chill and down for whatever. He lets you pick your own music and will take you basically anywhere downtown. [The Trolley]even offered to drive us through Taco Bell. He’s a local comedian so he told us jokes and all the weird stuff he’s seen go down driving people around at odd hours. It’s pretty cool seeing the city do something like that.”
Students Zach Gosnell, Sukhjeaven Kaur, Jae Cavalier, Whitney Mohon and Nicholas Lepkowski joined in an integrated marketing communications class joined together to spread the social media presence and student awareness of the Hattiesburg Trolley.
“They are just trying to promote the safety of not drinking and driving. This is a convenient way of not doing putting yourself and others in harm,” Lepkowski said. “More people need to know about the Hattiesburg Trolley to boost partnerships and awareness of them. They’re generating business for them and on social media they’re promoting businesses for them.”