CINCINNATI -- In less than a month, Cincinnati Bell Connector officials say ridership has well exceeded expectations.
The streetcar was estimated to accommodate an average of 1,500 riders per day on the weekends. Last weekend, the Bengals game and MidPoint Music Festival racked up 18,000 rides, and Oktoberfest brought another 29,000 on board.
Now, riders are saying two or three cars on the weekends is not enough.
Rob Stubbs said he couldn’t get on a streetcar after the Reds game Sunday.
"It was pretty packed,” Stubbs said. “We waited for the second one to get on. And when we went down there was tons of people waiting to get on."
Streetcar officials say they are working to solidify long-term trends in ridership. Cost of operations as well as the possibility of employing additional drivers must be considered.
They are working towards adding a third streetcar to the weekend operations when a major event is in Cincinnati.
Derek Bauman, director of All Aboard Ohio, an advocacy group for intercity travel, agrees that the city should work towards increasing service.
“If we have that demand of ridership, we're losing people who would be riders who are simply walking away because there is simply not enough streetcar service to be able to handle the rush of people that we had," Bauman said.
Bauman said a good first step is adding the third car to run on weekends when the city is expected to be crowded.
"People who are using it for the first time are forming their impressions of it,” Bauman said. “It makes no sense that we have made this major investment, people love it. We need to use it."