Woman who boarded streetcar brings up concerns

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 10, 2016

CINCINNATI -- When a woman boarded an empty streetcar on Sunday, a new conversation about streetcar safety began.

"Those types  of incidents should not happen," said Paul Grether, director of rail services for Cincinnati Metro. "The vehicle is secured when the operator leaves the vehicle unattended.

The woman filmed her encounter with the streetcar; she found it blocking her car and saw a door open with the key still in the ignition.


"It was totally inappropriate that the keys were left in the ignition. This should not have happened and will not happen again," councilwoman Amy Murray said.

The incident and the video led SORTA to pursue an investigation and more safety training.

"We immediately asked Transdev, our contractor, to investigate," SORTA spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers. "There will be an investigation going on right now about how someone could have boarded the streetcar when it was unattended."

Hilvers also mentioned that "Do Not Enter" signs are posted around the streetcar.

"It's not appropriate for people to be on board yet," she said. "The streetcar is still in testing."

But some city council members said the blame shouldn't be placed on the woman in the video alone.

"A lot of common sense mistakes were made by both parties," councilman Chris Seelbach said. "I don't know if there was any law that was violated that there would be an investigation...if there was a law broken, hopefully both parties are being investigated."

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson echoed Seelbach's comments with an added message to the public.

"While we're investigating a clear lack of judgment by leaving the vehicle unattended, we also need to make sure the public understands that this is not a toy" she said. "This is not a game. This is a very, very important piece of infrastructure."