Ridership Drops As Detroit's QLine Streetcar Starts Charging

Since Detroit's new streetcar system started charging, ridership has dropped. Those who are riding aren't necessarily paying anyways.
September 28, 2017, 9am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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A Healthier Michigan

Starting September 5, Detroit's new QLine streetcar system has begun charging fares after a summer where rides were free. The result has been a drop in ridership from 5,000 to 3,000 daily riders. Chad Livengood of Crain's Detroit Business writes that the young system operator's are still bullish on the system's prospects after seeing signs of ridership growth in evening commuters and for special events. However, one of the challenges is still getting riders to pay the fare.

The percentage of riders actually paying was 40 percent, which QLine spokesman Dan Lijana said is higher than 32.5 percent national average of similar downtown city rail systems.

At a 40 percent pay rate, that means an average of 1,200 riders are paying fares on a daily basis through either daily, monthly or annual passes.

The QLine's operators have a goal of an average daily ridership of 5,000 from this month through next September.

In addition to ongoing education programs on the new fare system through "QLine ambassadors," Livengood reports that payment enforcement through transit police may be required in the future.

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Published on Friday, September 22, 2017 in Crain's Detroit Business
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