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Cincinnati streetcar ridership rose most months in 2022, hit all-time annual high

The Cincinnati Bell Connector sits outside the maintenance and operations facility in OTR.
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jan 26, 2023

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati streetcar ridership rose most months throughout 2022 and hit its all-time annual record high in the year.

In 2022, 846,601 people boarded the streetcar and used it to travel along its 3.6-mile route that stretches through Over-the-Rhine and The Banks via the Central Business District, according to a press release from the city of Cincinnati.

During most months in 2022, ridership grew with the exception of June, when the roof of the historic Davis Furniture building in OTR partially collapsed, forcing parts of the streetcar route to close. During that month, the streetcar only traveled the OTR loop, resulting in just 49,627 passengers using its services.

Ridership dropped off as temperatures followed suit in November; otherwise, August 2022 was the only months aside from June where ridership did not increase that year.

Lori Burchett, deputy director of streetcar services for the City of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE), said the increased ridership was possible in part thanks to crews and city departments "effectively maintaining daily operations, passenger safety and reliable customer service."

"This new annual record is a gratifying accomplishment," said Burchett in a press release. "It is consistent with the monthly records we hit throughout 2022."

Another factor that's helped, according to Burchett, is the free fare offered by the streetcar since September 2020. October was by far the month where the most people used the streetcar; a press release from the city noted that the streetcar is "especially popular" during big events like BLINK, which took place in October.

The previous record for ridership was 2017, the streetcar's first full year of operation after it was installed. That year, 571,601 people utilized the public transportation option — which did require fare at the time.

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