Fear the Deer; don’t fear Milwaukee’s streetcar The Hop

on Friday, April 19, 2019

No actual deer or bunnies were harmed during the making of this blog. Parental guidance is advised.

 “Hey, kids! Wanna ride The Hop Easter weekend?” I asked with enthusiasm a few days ago. And, cue the crickets. Ah, well. We did it anyway. Today, we rode Milwaukee’s The Hop streetcars from Milwaukee’s Intermodal Station stop to the northeast end of the line at Burns Commons, which is part of the Milwaukee Parks system, and return. The 2.1-mile line, which opened in November 2018, hosts 18 station/shelters with train frequencies about every 15 minutes. On weekdays, it runs from 5 a.m. to midnight; Saturdays 7 a.m. to midnight; Sundays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It currently operates free to passengers this calendar year, compliments of its sponsor Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The Hop anticipates fares to be a buck a ride next year. Not as in deer, though.

The Hop is no doubt convenient for those arriving and departing on Amtrak or buses, as was evidenced by a gentleman who exited the intermodal station and waited with his luggage to board the streetcar at the shelter across the street. I was thoroughly impressed with The Hop’s efficiency, operator friendliness, pleasant interior, and comfortable ride. The windows are huge! The Brookville Equipment Corp.-built, three-piece, articulated vehicles currently wear Milwaukee Bucks 2019 Playoffs décor, with the floor looking like a basketball court and outlines of Bucks’ players shoe sizes in front of the seats for you to size up your feet.

Automated announcements were made regarding stops, with information also available digitally on the interior wall of your train. On this windy and sunny day, the “station” shelters were adequate, with a timetable posted on its interior.

I had no idea that my hokey idea for a fun family activity on Easter weekend would include riding the train with E. Bunny himself! About 10 minutes into our ride, MKE The Hop Streetcar marketing folks boarded the train with E. Bunny, who didn’t seem to mind that the Deer interior was a more immediate draw for folks. I was really stoked that E. Bunny’s entourage handed out Easter eggs with “The Hop” streetcar pins and specially printed “The Hop” Easter stickers. Nothing in my Easter basket will top those goods, I suspect.

For those of you who are interested … We got off the train at Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, walked through the screaming-crazy Public Market, and ate lunch at the Shake Shack. I shared with my son Chick’n Bites, crinkle-cut fries, and a Fifty/Fifty (a.k.a. an Arnold Palmer). I see a lot of people raving over Shake Shack on Instagram, so I figured it was worth a try. I have to say the chicken was pretty good, and I’m not even in kindergarten. I really liked my beverage, which was supposed to be just for me, but my kid sucked most of it down. Such is life, eh?

P.S. I noted on the way back that the trainsets are kept across the street from the intermodal station in an enclosed shop. And, the kids loved riding the streetcar and being downtown. Score 1 for Mom.

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy