Jeramey Jannene
Transportation

The Hop Records 80,113 Rides in August

Third best month on record, but down from July high.

By - Sep 12th, 2019 11:53 am
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The Hop, Milwaukee's streetcar system, on N. Broadway. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Hop, Milwaukee’s streetcar system, on N. Broadway. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee’s streetcar system recorded 80,113 rides in August, its second-best month of 2019.

The Hop averaged 2,584 rides per day in August, exceeding the pre-construction estimate of 1,800 daily rides.

“It’s summertime. It’s a time when we know people love to be in our community,” said Mayor Tom Barrett in July after the system exceeded 9,000 rides in a single day during the Bastille Days Festival. “We believe these numbers are going to remain strong and get even stronger.” But August ridership was below the 3,343 daily ridership figure recorded in July when the festival was located in the middle of the route. It still outpaced June’s 2,379 daily rides.

The ridership patterns in Milwaukee are mirroring those on other new systems where warm weather and marquee events draw large crowds while ridership dips as the temperature drops. Saturdays continue to be a big draw, with three of the four best ridership days in August coming on a Saturday. However, Sundays accounted for two of the three slowest days on the system.

The busiest day was Saturday, August 31st with 4,227 rides. Every day in the month of August outpaced the 1,800 estimated rides.

Ridership is tabulated by automatic passenger counters embedded in the doors of the vehicles. That system failed in at least one of the vehicles during February, when ridership was already sagging as Downtown activity dropped off with the colder-than-normal winter. Daily ridership data is available on the system website.

The 2.1-mile system is currently free to ride as a result of a three-year federal operating grant and a $10 million, 12-year sponsorship agreement with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The city estimated 1,800 daily rides as part of the system’s 2011 environmental impact statement.

Milwaukee officials recently announced their intent to keep the system free through 2020. Officials intend to make up the lost fare revenue, anticipated to represent no more than 20 percent of the system’s $4.3 million operating budget, with additional sponsorship revenue from a kiosk system. The announcement confirmed an earlier Urban Milwaukee report that no farebox equipment had been ordered.

A three-mile expansion plan remains on hold by the Milwaukee Common Council. A previously approved expansion to the lakefront, scheduled to open in 2020, faces uncertainty now that The Couture apartment tower, through which it was supposed to run, has not broken ground.

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More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

Categories: Transportation

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