Cincinnati — City Wants Streetcar Speedup
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Cincinnati streetcar is running behind schedule, not meeting a promise of no worse than a 15-minute headway at any station.
Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black wrote a letter to the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), which hired the private company Transdev to run daily operations, asking for the schedule issue to be resolved.
"If the headway problem is not resolved once streetcar operations normalize in the coming weeks, the City expects that SORTA will motivate Transdev to take any and all necessary steps to meet its contractual obligations," Black wrote. "We have every reason to hope that Transdev will cooperate with SORTA and the City to meet its obligations, but it is important to be clear about expectations."
Dwight A. Ferrell, SORTA's CEO, responded in another letter that it's going to cost money. "Many of the issues you reference are related to ridership far exceeding projections, the growing pains of a new system and assuring adequate capacity of the system," Ferrell wrote. "We are prepared to increase capacity by adding vehicles as requested by the City, but that requires additional resources."
Black wrote to the mayor and council saying "As we approach the first full month of Cincinnati Bell Connector service we are continuing to engage with SORTA to apply the information learned about the system, and the feedback received, with the goal of improving all aspects of streetcar operations."
Ridership on the streetcar between Sept. 12 – the first paid day of streetcar operations – and Sept. 25 show 70,292 rides, according to SORTA reports. And that's brought in $47,755, more than anticipated. That's nearly a quarter of the total amount ($196,875) needed by the end of the year.
On the Oct. 7 weekend, Transdev operated more streetcars to maintain headways at the required level and to avoid a possible city lawsuit. Weekend ridership has been 300 percent to 500 percent higher than pre-opening projections. As of October 6, the line had carried a cumulative total of more than 150,000 riders,well lahead of expectations.