Kansas City streetcar director says new vehicles urgently needed

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  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Altadena, CA
  • 306 posts
Kansas City streetcar director says new vehicles urgently needed
Posted by 081552 on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:42 AM
  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 1,006 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, April 21, 2017 12:02 PM

Start Charging a fare and your ridership will drop like a rock-

The Cincinnati Bell Connector's ridership is plummeting, with barely half the projected ridership last month.

Overall, ridership is 53 percent above expectations. But a closer look at the numbers day-by-day shows declining ridership since it opened Sept. 9 and troublesome weekday numbers that need attention.

John Schneider, one of the leading advocates for getting the streetcar built, expressed concern and called for immediate fixes. His grade to the city so far: B-.

 

"I would hate to think we carried this down to the one-yard line and fumbled," Schneider said. "It needs to be reliable for people who have to use it every day."

Paul Grether, rail manager for the streetcar operator, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, presented the numbers to Council's Major Transportation Committee Tuesday, saying his agency is working to fix issues. The committee is set to get monthly updates.

 

The biggest problem: Streetcar timing is off and that means nobody knows when it will arrive at a station. On weekends, that's no problem. On weekdays, when people need to get to appointments, work or even lunch, timing has been a deal-breaker.

And that's being chalked up to three problems:

 

  • Ticket vending machines were difficult to use. They got an overhaul last week, reducing a two-step process to one. 
  • Software that supports arrival time notices at stops has not worked properly from Day 1. SORTA officials told council the problem has been identified, but there was no promise of exactly when it would be fixed.
  • Downtown desperately needs a traffic study. One hasn't been done in 20 years. The traffic pattern runs east/west, for ease of getting to the interstates. But traffic signals don't take into account how the city has grown to the north, where the streetcar runs. Council has discussed a study, which is expected to cost $300,000, but no formal plan has been drafted.

Two ways to speed the streetcar up include dedicated lanes on Walnut and Main streets and giving streetcar drivers the ability to hold lights green as they approach.

Councilman Wendell Young said he's gotten several complaints about streetcars not arriving at stations when expected.

"We're discouraging people from riding the streetcar and that is an issue for me," Young said.

Daily ridership numbers show 49,920 people rode the streetcar in November, 95,286 people rode the streetcar in October and 133,322 people rode the streetcar in September between the time it opened on Sept. 9 and the end of the month.

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 2,643 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:58 PM

Every month I am in Kansas City staying at the Westin Crown Center for a week    I use the street car sometimes to transit to a restaurant to eat dinner and agree they could use more to cut down on the wait time.

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