Cincinnati’s newest mode of transportation, the streetcar dubbed the Cincinnati Bell Connector, is now open and running 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are 5 streetcar vehicles that are 77.5 feet long, 8.7 feet wide, weighing 40 tons when empty. These sleek carriers carry a total of 154 passengers, with 38 seats and 116 standing spaces. The streetcar has 18 stations along a 3.6 mile long route that connect Cincinnati’s Downtown and Uptown, as seen in the picture below. There has also been a discussion of extending the line up to the University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Zoo, Clifton, and/or across the river to Newport on the Levee.
In August 2016, Cincinnati Bell bought the naming rights to the system for $3.4 million which helped offset some of the $148 million in debt from taxpayers. On its opening days, September 9 and 18,141 passengers rode the new streetcar, and 50,505 more Cincinnatians rode over the weekend. Tickets are $1 for 2 hours and $2 for an all-day pass, but children under 35” ride free. For frequent commutes on the Cincinnati Bell Connector, the best option is the Metro Fare Deal, or the free Cincy EZRide App.
This streetcar has faced many obstacles to reach opening day. The idea was first proposed in 2007 and it immediately faced opposition. But in 2011 the citizens of Cincinnati voted to move the project forward. Construction was then postponed after the election in 2013, but resumed after City Council decided to continue building the streetcar system on December 19, 2013. Because of these political and economic issues, the streetcar has been a topic of heated debate. “I think the streetcar is a waste of money when there are other needs of the community,” Sophie Helmicki, ’19, commented when asked about the Cincinnati Bell Connector.
Despite all of these challenges, the streetcar is now up and running, with more than 500,000 people expected to go to Oktoberfest this weekend, meaning the streetcar will most definitely busy. Next time you are downtown, make sure to look for the Cincinnati Bell Connector.