First Week for the Cincinnati Bell Connector: Safe, Smooth With Very Few Issues
CINCINNATI – Metro’s CEO Dwight A. Ferrell shared information today on the first week of operations for the Cincinnati Bell Connector. He described this as one of the smoothest rail start-ups he has seen in his 30+ year transit career.
Safety:No accidents reported.
Ridership:Ridership for the grand opening weekend, Sept. 9-11, was just over 50,000.From Monday through Thursday, ridership was 12,740 (average of 3,185 per day… exceeding the projected 3,000 per day average).
Ticket vending machines:As with all new technology, there were a few bugs to work out. The TVMs are operating as they should at all streetcar stations. Customers need to become accustomed to using them; there’s a learning curve, so be patient.Metro has added signage at the streetcar stations and created a video on how to use the ticket vending machines on CincinnatiBellConnector.com and on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTnXzIoWuRg
Validating tickets:Customers are not validating tickets. After a ticket is purchased, it must be validated when the customer is ready to ride to imprint the date and time on the ticket.Metro has created additional signage for the ticket vending machines to remind customers about this step.For customers using the Cincy EZRide app, electronic tickets must be validated on their smartphones when they are ready to ride.
Automatic passenger counters:All of the streetcar automatic passenger counters are working, but there is a software issue related to extracting all of the data.Until this is resolved, we are taking samples and extrapolating to get ridership numbers, which is an accepted industry practice.
Cincy EZRide app: There were a few small issues with the Cincy EZRide app earlier this week, but those issues are being quickly resolved. About 1,500 people downloaded the app this week.This is the easiest way to buy streetcar tickets and day passes, so we encourage riders to download the free app.
Traffic signals:The City of Cincinnati is working on the timing of traffic signals.Currently, streetcars are “bunching up” as they get slowed down due to red lights, slowing the streetcars down.The City has been aware of this since pre-revenue service started this summer and is working to resolve the issue.
Keeping the tracks clear:Some trucks and cars are still parking on the streetcar tracks… the streetcar cannot move around you.You will be towed and/or fined.Remember to park completely within the white lines.
New Transdev General Manager:John Claflin, who had served as the Transdev General Manager for the streetcar, is experiencing a health issue. He stayed to see Cincinnati through last weekend’s grand opening.The new Transdev CEO for the Cincinnati Bell Connector is John Lee, who has more than 30 years of transit experience.John has served as Transdev’s General Manager for The Sprinter rail in Escondido, CA; Project
Manager for the Houston light rail expansion; and Sr. Manager of Rail Operations for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
OKTOBERFEST TIPS FOR RIDING THE CINCINNATI BELL CONNECTOR
Large crowds are expected to ride the Cincinnati Bell Connector over the Oktoberfest weekend. Long lines are expected at the ticket vending machines at the streetcar stations.
Here are a few tips to make it faster and easier to ride:
Buy a streetcar day pass:For only $2, you can ride the Cincinnati Bell Connector all day and night. The day pass is available on the Cincy EZRide app and at the ticket vending machines at streetcar stations.
Download the Cincy EZRide mobile ticket app free:Riders are urged to purchase streetcar tickets on the new Cincy EZRide app, available free at the Android and Apple app stores. Tickets can be purchased in advance and activated on your smartphone when you’re ready to ride.
Buy a streetcar token, good through Sunday night: A limited number of commemorative streetcar tokens are also still available, good for unlimited rides through the end of service on Sunday, Sept. 18.Cost is $10 and they are available at the Metro sales office in the Mercantile Building Arcade (on Fifth between Walnut and Main), weekdays from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Watch the ticketing vending machine video:Still want to buy your streetcar ticket at the station?Learn how to use the ticket vending machine by watching a short how-to video at CincinnatiBellConnector.com.
Validate your ticket… this is important:To validate your ticket, insert the paper ticket into the Validator at the bottom of the ticket vending machines.For the Cincy EZRide electronic ticket, just activate on your phone when you’re ready to ride.
Show your ticket: Show your validated ticket or e-ticket to the fare inspector on the streetcar.
Be patient: We expect a lot of people to ride the streetcar over Oktoberfest weekend and people are learning to use both the ticket vending machine and the streetcar system. Your patience is appreciated.
About the Cincinnati Bell Connector: The Cincinnati Bell Connector is intended to expand transportation options, stimulate development, and enhance livability by connecting downtown, the riverfront and Over the Rhine. The Cincinnati Bell Connector is owned and funded by the City of Cincinnati, managed by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, and operated by Transdev.