Jenny Scarborough
Inebriated Cycling to Solve Ocracoke Transit Problems

A hot wintertime topic is whether or not to fund free trams in the village.

An out-of-town entrepreneur has proposed a solution that will cost the county nothing. An eco-friendly bicycle powered bus could be cruising down Highway 12 as early as May, said Randy Horvich of Myrtle Beach, SC.

His Beer Bus business has proved popular in resort areas across the southeast, in Denmark and South Africa. Beer busses are powered by the riders. They are steered and driven by a tour guide. The driver is essential. As each rider pedals, he or she has unlimited access to beer which flows from taps to a wooden bar in the center of the trolley. Ocracoke would be the smallest town served by the Beer Busses, Horvich said, "but it seems like a perfect fit. I've never seen a town that likes to drink and bike as much as this one."

An unlimited hop on/hop off day pass will cost $18. A one way ride will cost $5. In towns like Savannah, Asheville, and Dubrovnik, Beer Busses serve craft beers. On Ocracoke, they will serve what Eastern NC wants: Miller High Life Light, which tastes like Corona. 

Caitlyn Jonas, an employee from Gaitlinburg, TN, who will manage the franchise, said, "People have a lot of fun on the Beer Bus. It's a social atmosphere. Working together to pedal the bus creates a kind of bond."

Five open air busses seating 12 passengers will be brought to the island, and Horvich anticipates no problems handling the capacity of riders. The busses will operate on a loop between the down base ferry docks and Howard's Pub. Every second run will make the trip out to the lifeguard beach. A pedal-powered bus can use the bike path without a reduction in the speed limit, pointed out Horvich.

The busses can be more flexible in their route than a government operated entity, said Horvich. "If a big family gets on and wants to stop for lunch, or a group is feeling jolly and wants to hang at the Jolly a little longer, we can probably figure out a way to accommodate that."

Few residents are aware of the Beer Busses' imminent arrival.

Inebriated Cycling to Solve Ocracoke Transit Problems

Horvich claimed, in a phone interview after Ocracoke Current received the scoop, that he hasn't sought feedback from community "because new things seem to be met with mistrust. I like the element of surprise."

Hyde County has been similarly uninformed. "This is the first I'm hearing about it," said County Manager Bill Rich.

Horvich described himself as a businessman and a capitalist. Private industry often innovates superior solutions, he said. "If I didn't think the trams were a good idea, I wouldn't be investing in this. It's an alternate version of public transportation. I've been following this topic, I've crunched some numbers, and I know it will work. Trust me. It will be great."

Horvich received his business permit as a food truck, which allows him to serve beverages. "Hyde couldn't have been more eager to authorize another business operating in the margins. They seem to desperate for revenue, frankly," he said.

While researching his business plan, Horvich spent a few weeks on the island. "I met a local lady named Candy Gaskill who just seemed to understand the pulse of the island. She reassured me that Ocracokers have no problem being stuck behind slow moving vehicles."

On April 2, Ocracoke Current interviews a tourist who is upset by the lack of uber service on the island.

Sorry to say, this was all a figment of Jenny's imagination. Thanks, dear Ocracoke Current readers, for indulging us on the most fun newsday of the whole year!