Streetcar offering free rides as part of opening weekend celebration

Streetcar offering free rides as part of opening weekend celebration
Posted at 4:10 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 16:13:20-04

CINCINNATI -- Following the lead of a number of new streetcar transit systems around the country, the Cincinnati Bell Connector will offer free rides during its opening weekend.

The streetcar, set to open the weekend of Sept. 9-11, recently announced that local telecommunications giant Cincinnati Bell would sponsor the new transit system, prompting its renaming and redesign, which was unveiled Tuesday.

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Cincinnati Bell teamed up with transit advocacy group Believe in Cincinnati; streetcar manufacturer CAF USA; The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation; Fred Craig, best known as the architect behind Fort Washington Way and also a consultant on the streetcar build; and the Joseph Automotive Group, to fund the free fare weekend.

A whole slew of events is planned for the weekend, which will kick off with an inaugural ride around the 3.6-mile loop, carrying city leaders, officials and stakeholders, as part of Friday's dedication ceremony. Service will begin to the general public at noon that day, and will continue until 1 a.m. Saturday morning.

The streetcar will follow these hours of operation following opening day:

Monday-Thursday: 6:30 a.m. - midnight

Friday: 6:30 a.m. -  1 a.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m. - 1 a.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.

The streetcar will operate normal weekend hours Saturday and Sunday during opening weekend.

For those who purchased the commemorative tokens -- which grant unlimited rides for the first week of revenue service -- those will go into effect Monday, Sept. 12, and remain in effect for the next seven days.

Following the free weekend, riders can purchase streetcar fare at the kiosks located at each streetcar station, as well as by using the Cincy EZRide mobile app, scheduled to be released for download at 9:30 a.m., Sept. 1. Cincy EZ Ride can also be used to purchase bus fare on Cincinnati Metro.

Follow WCPO transportation and development reporter, Pat LaFleur, on Twitter. (@pat_laFleur)