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Kansas City - May 2017

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Kansas City — 2 Million Riders

May 2017

KansasCity.com reported that KC's streetcar system hit the 2 million rider figure in early May and its performance is among the best of its peers nationwide.

New streetcar systems in Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City have had a hard time reaching their ridership projections, but Kansas City has easily exceeded its original forecasts of 2,700 rides per day, with 5,500 average daily rides over the past 12 months.

Surprisingly, weekend ridership has been higher than Monday through Fridays. Downtown weekend events have been the source of many additional riders.

The system's initial goal was to record 1 million rides in the first year. In fact, the 1 million goal was reaching in October. Fewer riders were carried in the cold months of December and January, then April was the third busiest month, behind July and August of last year. And the latest milestone was passing the 2 million rider mark.

A key contributor is the fact that Kansas City doesn’t charge a fare. Downtown property owners pay a special property tax to fund the line but some are wonderiing if it should charge a fare to reduce the tax. The streetcar authority thinks the free fare is a big advantage for the system, and because the streetcar district’s property and sales tax revenues more than cover expenses, the fare revenue isn’t needed, and avoids the considerable cost of collecting fares.

The agency has extended Sunday hours to meet ridership demands and an order for two additional cars to meet demand has been placed.

Kansas City ranks with Portland, Seattle and Tucson as a high-performing system, helped by the fact that it connects places where many people want to go.



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