CINCINNATI — Council member Amy Murray asked the transit authority’s rail director to repeat himself during Tuesday's transportation committee meeting, as he announced when the much-anticipated streetcar would open for service.
“Please say that again, and slowly… We have a date?” Murray said jokingly (but maybe only half-jokingly).
Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Rail Director Paul Grether smiled and repeated himself, telling Murray and the committee she chairs that full service along the streetcar's Downtown and Over-the-Rhine loops would begin Sept. 9.
Grether called the launch date “the plan,” and reminded council members that this assumes all details fall into place without any hitches.
In a committee meeting earlier this month, SORTA spokesperson Sally Hilvers said the launch would include a weekend’s worth of events, including visits from local, federal and international officials, activities at Washington Park, and collaborations with ArtsWave.
The weekend would also provide riders the opportunity to purchase a commemorative token, which would cover fares for the entire first week of service, for $10.
As of earlier this month, advanced streetcar revenue sales on Founders' Club cards had surpassed $60,000, officials said, and ink was drying on nearly $100,000 in on-vehicle advertising contracts. In its most recent streetcar funding request to the city, SORTA officials accounted for an estimated $675,000 in fare revenue for the first full year of operation, with about another $106,000 in sponsorship (non-ad) revenue.
“We’ve been working very aggressively,” Hilvers said during that meeting.
According to the project’s timeline, this meets the streetcar program’s goal of a Sept. 2016 launch-date.