Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati streetcar project’

Cincinnati Streetcar GM Retires

November 5, 2016

The general manager of the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar system has resigned.

CVG streetcarJohn Lee stepped down from his post has resigned and has been replaced as interim GM by Mark Young. Both men are employees of Transdev, which operates the system under contract.

Lee came to Cincinnati in September when public service began after serving as GM for a light-rail system in Escondido, California.

A Transdev spokesperson said Lee had decided to retire from the company and that his family still lives on the West Coast.

Young, previously was Transdev’s national streetcar mobilization manager, GM for the Atlanta Streetcar and director of safety and security for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority.

In an unrelated development, singer, actor and Cincinnati native Nick Lachey has agreed to become the voice of the streetcar, telling passengers which stop they are approaching.

“As a native Cincinnatian and someone who went to school in OTR (Over the Rhine) for many years, I am honored to be a part of the Cincinnati Bell Connector and the role that it will play in the revitalization of this great neighborhood,” Lachey said in a statement.

His voice will be heard aboard the streetcars by the end of the year.

More than 50,000 Rode Cincinnati Streetcar

September 16, 2016

More than 50,000 people rode the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar line during its opening weekend of Sept. 9-11.

CVG streetcarThe system recorded 50,646 passenger trips with rides over 3.6-mile line being free. The highest ridership was posted on Friday with 18,141 trips,

Normal fares are $1 for two hours and $2 for an all-day pass.

Dwight Ferrell, chief executive officer and general manager of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which manages the streetcar system, called the opening weekend a tremendous success.

“The new streetcar service has made Cincinnati a true multimodal city and is living up to its promise of connecting people and places, improving quality of life and spurring economic development,” Ferrell said.

Cincinnati Opens its Streetcar Line

September 13, 2016

Although he once sought to kill it, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley was among the dignitaries who participated last Friday in a grand opening ceremony for the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar line.

CVG streetcarAlso riding the inaugural run were Acting Federal Transit Administrator Carolyn Flowers, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Chair Jason Dunn, and other public officials and project supporters.

“We are proud to partner with Cincinnati on its streetcar and usher in a new era for getting around in this vibrant city,” Flowers said in a news release. “The streetcar will expand transportation options for residents and visitors, spur economic development and connect workers to jobs, helping to build ladders of opportunity throughout the city.”

The FTA said in a news release that the streetcar project has spurred “millions of dollars in redevelopment” in the city, with new retail and housing springing up along the line.

The streetcar line is a 3.6-mile loop between downtown and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. It has 18 stops and is the first streetcar service in Cincinnati in 65 years.

The streetcar system is owned and funded by the city, managed by SORTA and operated by Transdev.

Funded in part by a $16 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, the streetcar line cost $148 million to build.

Cincinnati Streetcar Service Begins Today

September 9, 2016

The Cincinnati streetcar system, now known as the Cincinnati Bell Connector, will begin revenue service today (Aug. 9, 2016).

CVG streetcarActually, no revenue will be collected as passengers will ride for free during the first weekend of operation.

The 3.6 mile line links downtown Cincinnati with the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

For the first weekend of service, the cars will run from noon until 1 a.m. today, from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Sunday.

The streetcar is owned by the city, managed by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and operated by Transdev.

Underwriting the free first weekend are Believe in Cincinnati, CAF USA, Cincinnati Bell, Fred Craig, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation, and the Joseph Automotive Group.

Cincinnati Bell Gets Streetcar Naming Rights

August 23, 2016

The Cincinnati streetcar has a new name as it gears up to begin revenue service on Sept. 9.

The 3.6-mile line will be known as the Cincinnati Bell Connector.

CVG streetcarCincinnati Bell is paying $340,000 annually for 10 years for the naming rights. Money generated from naming rights will be used to fund streetcar operations

The telephone company’s logo will appear on the front, back, top and inside of each streetcar. The existing logo and colors will no longer be used.

The cars had been painted yellow and white, but will be repainted into the colors used by Cincinnati Bell in its marketing materials.

Advertising from other entities will continue to be sold and displayed inside and outside the cars.

With 18 stops, the streetcar, which is managed by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and operated by Transdev will feature 18 stops on a loop extending from downtown to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

It will come within a block of the Great American Ball Park on Second Street where the Cincinnati Reds play.

The five streetcars to be used were built by CAF USA in Elmira, New York, and feature low floors.

Funding of the $148-million streetcar project came from public-private partnerships, which included grants from the Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation.

The numbers of the streetcars begin with 1175 because the last car to be used in Cincinnati was number 1174.

Streetcar service in Cincinnati ended in the early 1950s.

Cincinnati Streetcar to Start Dress Rehearsals

August 5, 2016

Cincinnati streetcar

The Cincinnati streetcar system will begin dress rehearsal service on Aug. 7 to work out any bugs before the cars begin hauling revenue passengers.

CVG streetcarStreetcar operating and maintenance workers will observe the system and address any issues or problems that may arise before service begins on Sept. 9.

During the testing period, such functions as dispatching and supervision will be in full operation.

The 3.6-mile Cincinnati Streetcar route has 18 stops in the Queen City’s downtown area. It will use cars built by CAF USA.

Grand Opening Set for Cincy Streetcar Line

May 31, 2016

A Sept. 9 grand opening will be held for the Cincinnati streetcar system that is under construction.

CVG streetcarThe event for the 3.6-mile line will be a week before the traditional Oktoberfest.

The opening is expected to be on time and under the project’s $147 million budget.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has indicated that surplus funds from the streetcar project will be used for non-transit projects rather than to plan the expansion of the streetcar line to Uptown to serve the University of Cincinnati and nearby hospitals.

Cincinnati Planning Panel Delay of Transit Advertising Plan May Affect Streetcar Finances

February 8, 2016

A decision by the Cincinnati Planning Commission to halt a plan to provide advertising at transit stop shelters and benches has some worried that the lost revenue could hinder the city’s under-construction streetcar system.

The Commission is not necessarily opposed to the advertising plan by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, but wants the city to prepare renderings on what the stops would look like with advertising and to obtain more details on how much revenue the city and the transit agency would earn.

SORTACommission member John Schneider, who proposed a two-week delay, said that a city ordinance allows advertising at bus stops that does not exceed the dimensions of 6-by-4 feet.

Schneider said the ordinance would allow illuminated electric displays in some instances.

Some Commission members express concern that the advertisements would provide visual clutter and damage the aesthetics of neighborhoods.

“My feeling is this is a step backwards,” Schneider said. “Visual appeal, curb appeal is a big thing for this city. We’re allowing billboards or mini-billboards on our streets.”

However, a Cincinnati Councilwoman, who also sits on the planning panel, worried that delaying approval of the advertising could affect the operations plan of the streetcar.

A recent report by the a financial consultant estimates that advertising could net the streetcar system $25,000 annual payments that would increase to $125,000 in 2021.

Although Schneider also thinks that station sponsorships would produce revenue for the streetcars, he still wants to see more details about the advertisements plan.

Commission chairman Dan Driehause said that the city prohibited transit stop advertising in 2009 but due to a court fight the advertisements lingered until 2013. Although illegal, some benches still sport advertisements.

The ban came after the Cincinnati City Council responded to complaints that advertising on benches detracted from the character of the neighborhood.

The ban cost SORTA between $65,000 and $68,000 a year in revenue.

City Manager Harry Black also sits on the planning panel and believes that transit stop advertising could be done in a tasteful manner.

“I’m confident that SORTA would not do anything to degrade the Cincinnati brand,” he said.

Cincinnati Streetcar Naming Rights For Sale

November 12, 2015

Naming rights for the Cincinnati streetcar are now up for bid.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority said it has retained Advertising Vehicles, Inc. to handle the sale of naming rights and advertising space on Cincinnati Streetcars.

SORTA said that the revenue generated will be used to pay for streetcar operations.

The naming rights are available for the entire streetcar system under a long-term contract that includes additional promotional benefits.

Advertising space will be sold on the system’s five streetcars and is not part of the naming rights contract.

Space for advertising will offered on the lower exterior side panels and designated interior spaces, including ceilings and floors

If the purchaser of the naming rights wishes to place messages in these spaces, it may do so for an additional cost.

SORTA said that advertising sales on its bus system has generated more than $4.6 million over the past decade, averaging nearly $500,000 a year.

1st Streetcar Arrives by Truck in Cincinnati

November 3, 2015

CVG streetcar

The first streetcar for the Cincinnati streetcar line arrived in the Queen City last week by truck.

The car was built by CAF USA in Elmira Heights, New York. Four additional cars are expected to be delivered over the next few months.

City officials say the streetcar project, which is 10 months away from completion, is proceeding on budget and that service is expected to being in September 2016.

The streetcar line will have a 3.6-mile loop running through the city’s downtown and connecting the Over the Rhine neighborhood.