The Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum, Inc. was formed in 1999 when the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke decided to deaccess its fleet of transit coaches collected through the years. A group of folks famillar with Roanoke's Downtown Plan done in 1997, which called for the restoration of the Museum's fleet for use by non-profits and community events, met to consider forming an organization.
The group, to be known as the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum, Inc., was formed and applied to the IRS as a 501-c-3 charitable organization. That designation was approved by the IRS in early 2000 and the museum has been in operation ever since.
The purpose of the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum, Inc. is to educate Virginians about the history, use and efficency of public transit, all while serving non-profit organizations and public events. Examples of the service are shuttles for Virginias Explore Park, Center in the Square, the National D Day Memorial, Mill Mountain Zoo, the Heart Association, Lions Conventions, the Rescue Mission, the statewide neighborhood conference, local churches and the National EMS Memorial Service among others. All personnel who drive and maintain the fleet are non paid and the museum only asks for donations for fuel and maintenance if an organization is capable of assisting.
Currently the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum, Inc.carries approximately 6-7 thousand folks per year and enables many to access transit for public events. We are not in competition with the private sector and are making sure that we never put ourselves in that position. Our costs are so low that we are able to offer the assistance folks need with the donation of our time as the most important factor in allowing the service.
We continue to selectively acquire coaches when they represent geographic parts of the Commonwealth we do not have in the fleet or when an item is very important to the fleet from a historical perspective.