Local

Streetcar ridership tops projections

Confetti hangs on Charlotte's first streetcar in 77 years following a ribbon cutting ceremony and inaugural ride on Tuesday, July 14, 2015.
Confetti hangs on Charlotte's first streetcar in 77 years following a ribbon cutting ceremony and inaugural ride on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte’s new streetcar averaged 1,507 passenger weekday trips in July, which exceeds the Charlotte Area Transit System’s estimates for the line.

Before the Gold Line opened, CATS said it estimated the 1.5-mile streetcar would carry 1,100 passenger trips. The transit system’s official projection to the federal government was that it would handle 900 passenger trips.

The transit system said that August ridership appears to be similar to July ridership.

“Exceeding initial ridership projections demonstrates the public’s continued embracement of rail transit and their support for more transportation choices,” said CATS chief executive John Muth in a statement.

When counting ridership, CATS counts a passenger trip as one person getting on a train or bus one time. A person who takes a round trip would be counted as two passenger trips.

The streetcar replaced part of the free Gold Rush shuttle, which ran from Johnson C. Smith University to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. After the streetcar opened, the Gold Rush was shortened and now travels from the university to Time Warner Cable Arena.

If passengers want to continue their journey, they walk to the first streetcar stop across from the arena.

In July 2014, the full Gold Rush carried 45,328 passengers. In July 2015, the Gold Rush and streetcar carried 61,630 passenger trips.

The city of Charlotte is trying to build the second phase of the streetcar, which would extend the line to Johnson C. Smith to the west and to the Elizabeth neighborhood to the east.

  Comments