Streetcar sightings to become more common

Streetcar sightings to become more common
Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 05:16:46-04

CINCINNATI — Frequent Downtown commuters have become accustomed to the tracks for Cincinnati’s new streetcar system. Soon, they’ll have to get used to the streetcars themselves.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has begun testing the first of four streetcar vehicles it has in its inventory, and will soon begin reliability testing on the other three. The streetcar vehicles each have to log 500 kilometers — about 310 miles — before they can be put into revenue service.

“You’ll start to see the streetcars a lot more often now,” Paul Grether, SORTA manager of rail service, told the Major Transportation & Regional Cooperation Committee, which met Tuesday.

The streetcar system is expected to begin service between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15, which would coincide with the beginning of the city’s new fiscal year.

SORTA is still awaiting the delivery of a fifth streetcar vehicle, which is now expected to arrive in mid-May. The vendor, CAF, is struggling to acquire the materials needed to complete the streetcar, said John Deatrick, Cincinnati Streetcar project executive.

The city’s budget committee passed an ordinance establishing a budget line item within the city’s general fund Monday, and the city council is expected to ratify that ordinance Wednesday, said Councilwoman Amy Murray, the transportation committee chair.