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Published on August 5th, 2016 | by James Ayre


Kansas City’s Streetcar Rides Total More Than 550,000 After Only 3 Months Of Service

August 5th, 2016 by  

Kansas City StreetcarAfter only around 3 months of service, Kansas City’s new downtown streetcar has achieved more than 550,000 passenger rides, far more than had been projected.

To be more exact, by the 84th day of service (last Thursday), “the streetcar had tallied 555,417 passenger rides,” according to Streetcar Authority spokesperson Donna Mandelbaum.

Current average daily ridership for the streetcar now totals 6,612 — a slight increase for the average daily ridership of 6,365 reported on July 5, after 2 months of operation.

Considering that the predicted average daily ridership before the May 6 launch was only 2,700, that’s striking — and shows just how much of an untapped potential streetcars and urban trams represent.

Not that they ever weren’t compelling and viable…. The reason that extremely effective streetcar and tram services present in many early-20th-century cities were scrapped was because of a concerted and relentless lobbying effort by the auto industry.

The Kansas City Star provides more, noting that, “streetcar officials still say ridership may gradually dip in coming months, after the streetcar novelty wears off and a busy summer of downtown activities fades and cold weather sets in.”

Additionally: “Although weekday ridership is robust, Saturdays have been the busiest days on average since the streetcar system began public operations. July 16 was the biggest Saturday yet, with 15,780 riders counted. Passengers do not pay any fare to ride the streetcar, which runs on a 2.2-mile route from River Market to Union Station. But they are counted by automated passenger counters above the doorways of the streetcar vehicles. The counters are another feature of the software system installed in the streetcar to provide location information, speeds, arrival times and other workforce management information.”

More ridership information on the new streetcar system is expected to be publicly released next week.

Kansas City is on the MOVE with the KC Streetcar from KC Streetcar on Vimeo

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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