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Streetcar Service Scheduled To Begin On Sept. 9th

Bill Rinehart

Officials say the Cincinnati streetcar will begin passenger operations on Friday, September 9th.

Paul Grether, with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), made the announcement Tuesday during a city council committee meeting.   SORTA is managing streetcar operations for the city.

"It will kick off a weekend of activities," Grether said.  "We are anticipating cutting the ribbon sometime around mid-day on Friday.  So we would have half a day service on Friday and then activities all weekend long."

The date is tentative and could change depending on what happens this summer.

"This date right now is the scheduled date, this is what we're working towards," Grether said.  "There are still many risk factors, as council is well aware, first and foremost is closing all the open safety issues, and getting full safety and security certification concurred to by ODOT (Ohio Dept. of Transportation) and FTA (Federal Transit Administration)."

There is still no word on if streetcar rides will be free for a couple days when service begins.  The city and SORTA are searching for a sponsor to cover fares that weekend.

The city faces a mid-September deadline to have the service running; otherwise the FTA would have to approve a waiver.  

The weekend of the 9th has the streetcar starting operations after Riverfest on Labor Day Weekend and before Oktoberfest Zinzinnati which is set for September 16th thru the 18th.  Streetcar service will likely stop during Oktoberfest.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.