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Everything You Need To Know About Riding The Streetcar, Er, Cincinnati Bell Connector

Tana Weingartner

After years of planning, as of noon on Friday, Sept. 9, the Cincinnati Bell Connector, AKA, the Cincinnati streetcar is open for business. If you're thinking about taking a ride but are unsure of how everything works, here's a handy guide.

You've Got A Ticket To Ride

The streetcar is free to ride during opening weekend. You won't need a ticket during that time. However, demand is expected to be high, so don't plan on riding all day long. Not to worry, though, Metro is running a free bus circulator Sept. 9-11 to handle overflow and get you back to where you need to go if you're just riding for fun.

Starting Monday, Sept. 12, you'll need to have a fare ticket to ride the streetcar. Be sure to hang on to your ticket to show a fare inspector if asked.

  • Tickets are $1 for 2 hours or $2 for all day.
  • Children under 35” ride free and children under 45” pay ½ fare.
  • Metro Fare Deal pass-holders (older adults and people with disabilities) pay ½ fare with their Fare Deal ID card.
  • Customers ride the streetcar free with a valid Metro 30-day pass, day pass or transfer
Credit Provided / www.cincyezride.com

You can purchase a ticket at any of the 18 fare boxes located at streetcar stations.

If you prefer to go digital, 'there's an app for that.' Metro's Cincy EZRide app is available for free download on Android and iPhone. You can find the app on Google Play or the iTunes store.

The app allows you to plan your trip and track - Metro's pun, not ours - your options. There's also a FAQ on exactly how to use the app with step-by-step instructions for purchasing a fare.

The fine for riding without a ticket is $100. It goes up to $200 if delinquent and $275 if the fine is sent for collections.

Credit Jay Hanselman / WVXU

When You Can Ride

The system runs 18 hours per day, 365 days per year. Operating hours are as follows:

  • Monday-Thursday                6:30 a.m. – midnight
  • Friday                                          6:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
  • Saturday                                     8 a.m. – 1 a.m.
  • Sunday and holidays             9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

The 'Connector' will run every 12 minutes Monday - Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will run every 15 minutes during all other days and times.

'The Bell' and its stations have no steps, so people with bikes, strollers, wheelchairs, and other accessibility concerns should be able to get on and off without issue. And, yes, you bring your bicycle onboard. There are no bike racks like on Metro buses.

The cars have audio and visual messages. Metro says those with disabilities who use wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility aids should enter through the center double doors.

Service animals are welcome to ride but no other animals are allowed. Sorry, Bruiser.

Click To Enlarge

Wait! That Was My Stop!

The streetcar will only stop at a station if someone is waiting there or if a rider signals the driver that he/she wishes to get off. Just ring the bell as you're approaching where you plan to exit.

There are 18 stops along the 3.6 mile loop through Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. Click the map at left to enlarge it and see all the streetcar stations.

Let's Talk About Safety

Metro offers these safety precautions:

You'll find additional safety tips on the Streetcar Safety page.

What Do We Call It

Everyone has been calling it the "streetcar" since the idea was first formalized. The name was officially changed to the "Cincinnati Bell Connector" in August. Since then, people have also begun referring to the system as the "Connector" and "The Bell."