Jeramey Jannene
Transportation

City Lands Second Streetcar Sponsor

Everstream, business internet provider, joins Potawatomi in backing The Hop.

By - Nov 1st, 2019 02:49 pm
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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 has landed its second sponsor for The Hop.

Everstream, a provider of business-only fiber network services, has signed on as the streetcar system’s second sponsor joining Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, which has a 12-year, $10 million presenting sponsorship agreement.

The company’s commitment, reported by two sources as just below $100,000, will help support free rides through the end of the year.

The Cleveland-based company recently opened a Milwaukee office in the Wells Building at 324 E. Wisconsin Ave. and anticipates investing $27 million in the Milwaukee market over the next year. The building plays a pivotal role in the region’s telephone and internet networks as the only “carrier hotel” in the area where different providers’ systems interconnect.

“The Hop is providing the community with connectivity for buildings all around Downtown, and we’re excited to do that with our private business network,” said CEO Brett Lindsey at The Hop’s one-year anniversary celebration at City Hall.

Later this month the company will turn on two new fiber rings measuring 172 miles, providing high-speed internet service between downtown Milwaukee and the western suburbs. Businesses near the line can connect to the fiber network to obtain fast internet connectivity. The company plans to deploy a 560-mile network throughout the region by the end of 2020.

According to a map on the company’s website, Everstream provides its high-speed service in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Lindsey said the firm would soon open additional officials in Wisconsin.

According to the city’s budget, The Hop’s 2019 operation will be funded by a federal grant for operations ($3,457,754), the 12-year, $10 million Potawatomi Hotel & Casino sponsorship ($691,670) and other advertising deals ($250,000).

Fare equipment, for which $400,000 remains set aside from the project’s $128 million capital budget, has not been purchased. As part of the deal to bring the Democratic National Convention to Milwaukee, the system must be free while the convention is in town.

A procurement process is ongoing for a kiosk system with real-time arrival data and advertising at each station. City officials estimated that revenue from the kiosks would allow the system to be maintained as free in its current state.

A three-mile expansion plan was put 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.

The Milwaukee Bucks sponsored a streetcar in the spring. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.

During Friday’s press conference Mayor Tom Barrett touted the system’s 93 percent on-time performance and high ridership. “That 93 percent figure would be even higher if we didn’t have to do some education for some truckers, motorists that ‘no you can’t park on the tracks’,” said Barrett.

“We shattered our projections,” said Barrett of the system’s ridership. Through October 31st, the system recorded 802,541 rides for an average of 2,205 rides per day. A 2011 study estimated 1,800 rides per day. The system opened on November 2nd, 2018.

“Free fares are great, but they aren’t just about ridership. They make the system more inclusive and accessible,” said Barrett. “They turn The Hop into a magnet that attracts more people to the heart of the city to work, to play and even invest.”

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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

2 thoughts on “Transportation: City Lands Second Streetcar Sponsor”

  1. TransitRider says:

    These sponsorships are one more thing a streetcar can do that a bus can’t.

    Nobody has ever sponsored a bus route in Milwaukee.

  2. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Amen, TransitRider,

    Hop riders and sponsors both display enthusiasm beyond the level of enthusiasm expressed by riders of the buss.

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