Jeramey Jannene

Streetcar Returning To Full Schedule

The Hop to offer full service for first time since March 2020, welcome riders with "Hop Summer Nights."

By - Jul 26th, 2021 05:42 pm
The Hop, Milwaukee's streetcar system, on N. Broadway. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic never stopped The Hop, but it did cause a substantial service reduction.

But starting Sunday, August 1, the system will again return to its pre-pandemic service levels.

“It’s been fantastic to see our great city coming back to life this summer, with more and more people both returning to work downtown and taking advantage of the many great dining and entertainment destinations along the route,” said Public Works Commissioner Jeff Polenske in a statement.

The system will again operate from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. The reduced service schedule has had the system operating from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Service frequency, a key driver in the usability of the 2.1-mile-long system, will also increase. Headways (time between trains) will return to 15 minutes during peak times and 20 minutes throughout the rest of the day.

The system has operated with two vehicles running simultaneously during the pandemic, resulting in a 20-minute headway. Private operator Transdev will reduce wait times by putting a third streetcar into service at select times.

Daily ridership in May 2021, the last month for which data was published, was 671 rides per day. That’s only 33% of the system’s May 2019 ridership, when it recorded an above-projection 2,030 rides per day. But the May total is the highest since the pandemic took hold. Ridership on the streetcar fell as much as 85% as downtown offices closed. The Milwaukee County Transit System, which serves a much broader range of employers and businesses, saw a similar reduction but a faster rebound.

The city is offering an incentive to get riders back on the free streetcar. “Hop Summer Nights” will take place every Sunday in August from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Riders will receive free “hopsicles” from Pete’s Pops and jazz from the Don Linke Trio. A selfie contest will also provide free gift cards.

More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

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

Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here

Categories: Transportation, Weekly

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