Washington, D.C. launched a new streetcar earlier this year, nearly 100 years after the first streetcar came to city. It was met with a severe lack of enthusiasm, with many local residents saying the nearly $230 million, 2.2 mile-long project wasn't worth it. Now six months in and the D.C. Depart of Transportation (DDOT) is seeing success in its hard work.
Nearly 70,000 passengers rode the streetcar in June alone, and the average time from end to end on the streetcar lasted only 14 minutes. On the average weekday, the streetcar served 2,773 passengers that month, while Leif Dormsjo, the director of DDOT, had only estimated 1,500 riders. He also points to the recent success of Kansas City's streetcar, which is now serving 6,000 daily riders.
The streetcar is currently free to ride, and authorities are debating whether to charge a fee in the next six months. For starters, Atlanta's streetcar saw ridership dip 48% when riders were charged $1.00 per ride. Secondly, the cost of collecting those fairs could outweigh the potential revenue.
Dormsjo is also planning to extend the service further than its current 2.2-mile trip.