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City SORTA Want More Streetcars Operating To Meet Demands

Jay Hanselman

Update 10/07/16 at 10:40am:  Transdev issued a statement Thursday evening and it said it will add extra streetcars to meet weekend ridership numbers.

"Transdev is a committed partner to SORTA and the City of Cincinnati in the success of the Cincinnati Bell Connector," the company said in a written statement. "We are excited by the popularity of the new streetcar in its first month of operation."

Transdev said ridership levels on weekends have been from 300 percent to more than 500 percent of what SORTA projected before the start of the service. 

"Transdev welcomes the City and SORTA’s calls on Transdev to operate more streetcars," the company said in its statement. "We will add extra service to meet weekend demand,  and continue to work closely with SORTA to make the Cincinnati Streetcar a great success for the City and the people of Cincinnati."

Original Post: Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority are directing the operator of the Cincinnati Bell Connector to use the number of streetcars necessary to meet weekday and weekend ridership demands.  

In a news release Thursday, both the city and SORTA said TransDev is contractually required to meet 15 minutes headways and has failed to do so.  

They say more than two streetcars need to be running on Saturdays and Sundays to carry the number of people who want to ride it.  

Mayor John Cranley held a meeting Wednesday with city manager Harry Black, SORTA and several city council members looking for service solutions.  

“Of course more streetcars should be operated on the weekends to meet the demand," Cranley said in the release. "Streetcars that have already been paid for by taxpayers should certainly be used.”

The meeting comes as the two sides have been trying to find a solution to the 12 to 15 minute headway issue.  The city said SORTA was required to meet those standards.  SORTA said that would require additional money from the city to pay for it.

“It is impossible to meet the contractual headway requirement obligation without running more streetcars.” said SORTA Board Chair Jason Dunn in the release.  “TransDev must make the required adjustments to meet ridership demand, each and every day, and especially on weekends when demand is at its highest.  We expect TransDev to fulfill its obligations."

Both sides said they are hopeful TransDev will work with them to meet customer demands after initial conversation with the company about the issue.