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The Cincinnati Streetcar Is Failing

Mechanical failures and understaffing have contributed to plummeting ridership for the Cincinnati Bell Connector.
March 11, 2018, 7am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Cincinnati Bell Connector

Ridership for the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar is half of what it was in 2017 according to reporting from writes Sharon Coolidge in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The system has problems with maintenance and staffing: "Streetcar vehicles built by manufacturer CAF-USA have so many problems – air compressors, heating, braking, propulsion and power failures – they likely need to be completely rebuilt," Coolidge writes. An already tight budget means the operator which is understaffed is unlikely to offer more attractive pay packages to relieve staffing issues. "Private operator Transdev can't keep staff on hand. The company's situation is complicated by the fact that its portion of the streetcar contract was bid at $3.3 million, less than what it's costing Transdev to operate the system," Coolidge writes.

No one seems to want to take on the issue. The mayor, John Cranley, has been against the project for some time, but was unable to block the project from completion. Agencies associated with the street car have been quick to point fingers at each other, "For instance when the streetcar wasn't operating SORTA directed the media to call the city's spokesman because the issue was related to the cars not working. The city spokesman then said the media should call SORTA because it manages the project," Coolidge reports.

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Published on Monday, March 5, 2018 in The Cincinnati Enquirer
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