On September 9th the Cincinnati Bell Connector, Cincinnati’s very own streetcar, celebrated its first birthday. The Connector runs on a 3.6 mile loop with 18 stops throughout downtown and Over the Rhine. But after a year of operation is it living up to the hype?
This map highlights the route and major landmarks along its path.
In 2016 SORTA (Southwest Ohio Regional Transportation Authority), who oversees the day-day operation of the streetcar, projected ridership to be 3,200 people per day, but in 2017 it has fallen to 2,800 each day. There have also been problems concerning the streetcar and the other cars on the road because cars that are illegally parked in the path of the streetcar prevent it from moving on because it is on a set path. This has resulted in collisions and in many cars being towed, and a significant amount of time wasted due to the streetcar having to wait to continue on its daily route. This issue has decreased greatly though since the early days of the street car as people became more aware of the streetcar and the limitations on parking.
Despite these issues though the Cincinnati Bell Connector has made 730,000 trips the streetcar in its first year, which means it has travelled over 104,000 miles. It has also become a fun, easy, and affordable method of transportation downtown, whether it is used just for a joy ride or to get to and from work every day. It is also available for rent for private events at a cost of $1,250 for the minimum time of four hours.
Now that the Connector has survived its first year, local politicians and others involved in the operation of the streetcar are looking to the future. Debates on whether to start expansion projects or continue maintenance of the streetcar for now are hot topics in the politics as the election this year approaches. These extensions could go almost anywhere, but the most promising locations as of now are Clifton and Corryville. There has even been discussions of expanding it into Kentucky to the CVG airport. When it comes to future of the streetcar, the possibilities are endless.
This map shows just one of the many possible expansion plans that the city of Cincinnati has made.