Everything You Need To Know About Riding The Streetcar, Er, Cincinnati Bell Connector
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
You can purchase a ticket at any of the 18 fare boxes located at streetcar stations.
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.
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.
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:
- Don't cross in front of a moving streetcar.
- Step over tracks; walk your bike or cross at a right angle. Click here to read more about how to cross the tracks on a bike.
- Don't walk, run or play along the streetcar tracks.
- Stay clear of the poles, overhead high-voltage electric wires, and power stations.
- Park within white painted lines along track area and look before opening your door. Click here to read more on parking safely along the streetcar route.
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."