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thomasbw

Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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1 minute ago, Oxford19 said:

There is a transit method that does have a single-seat ride to every destination: it's called Uber.

 

And it is quite expensive despite being MASSIVELY SUBSIDIZED by VC. 

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11 minutes ago, Oxford19 said:

Then close the thread if there are unwritten rules about what can or can't be discussed. I see though that my ignorance has created another discussion though...hmm.

 

 

10 minutes ago, Oxford19 said:

Comparing Philly transit and its volume to Cincy's transit system? Please.  Reading this thread as instructed only shows a lot of drama and conspiracy theories about a short streetcar line that hasn't lived up to nearly being close to expectations.  Lots of excuse making though as to why the streetcar isn't working.

 

 

 

5 minutes ago, Oxford19 said:

Great, just need a few thousand more of you though.  Where are you ''commuting'' from?

 

 

This project has been debated since very nearly the beginning of this forums existence. Many long-time forumers, myself included, have debated the ups and downs of this system for years. For better or worse, if there are some basic information inquiries like why it was built in the first place, it's buried somewhere in this thread. I wish I could be more helpful in pointing you to a specific post or part of this thread but it is worth it to skim some pages from the past. If I find a post that can highlight some of this stuff, I will amend the first post of this thread so we can direct people there.

Until then, let's all take a deep breath and have a more constructive discussion on the streetcar.

Thanks!


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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I think we need an FAQ for this thread stickied at the beginning so that n00bs don't think they're blowing our minds with their WLW/Enquirer opinions.

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700WLW darling Amy Murray had plenty of time for extracurricular activity as head of the Transportation Committee:

 

textmessages.thumb.jpg.69f8e92eb0c1f7c9fd8d6ff118cf4f15.jpg

 

So with this known about her, Cranley and Black had her under their thumbs and she had to do everything they said, not as though she gives a damn about public transportation anyway. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jmecklenborg

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Keep in mind that the difference between 10 and 12 minutes headways is an average wait of 5 minutes or an average wait of 6 minutes. It's important to reduce the headways and speed up the system, but nothing is going to improve ridership as much as removing the fare barrier. 

 

If you factor in the costs of collecting the fare and enforcing the fare, net fare revenue is only about $60,000 per year and is actually negative in the lowest ridership months. 

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1 hour ago, thomasbw said:

Keep in mind that the difference between 10 and 12 minutes headways is an average wait of 5 minutes or an average wait of 6 minutes. It's important to reduce the headways and speed up the system, but nothing is going to improve ridership as much as removing the fare barrier. 

  

If you factor in the costs of collecting the fare and enforcing the fare, net fare revenue is only about $60,000 per year and is actually negative in the lowest ridership months.  

10 minutes is generally considered the point at which people are willing to forget about looking at a schedule and just use a transit line. At some point, adding a minute to the average wait time becomes too much. Like if you keep accumulating grains of sand, at some point you have a "heap".

 

It's also much simpler to do mental math regarding when trains show up at 10-minute vs. 12-minute headways  -- if I know one was at a certain station at 12:06, then I know another will be there at 1:16 without bothering to do any calculation. When you intuitively know the schedule in your head, the theoretical average wait time doesn't apply. It's the "clock schedule" concept.

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We're not actually hitting 12 minute headways though. During periods of heavy congestion the headways are sometimes in the neighborhood of 15 or 18 minutes.

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13 minutes ago, taestell said:

We're not actually hitting 12 minute headways though. During periods of heavy congestion the headways are sometimes in the neighborhood of 15 or 18 minutes.

 

Right, and the "just missed" factor makes that huge, especially for someone fumbling with the fare machines. 

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Just now, jjakucyk said:

 

Right, and the "just missed" factor makes that huge, especially for someone fumbling with the fare machines. 

 

Yeah, again, for large groups with kids, it's basically impossible for them all to buy tickets before the streetcar shows up. 

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When I'm with my friends, I just buy all the tickets on the EZ Ride app, and have them buy me a beer or something later.  It just isn't worth having 4+ people each separately buy a $2 ticket that takes 3 minutes to receive. 

 

The number of times I've seen someone or a family (usually suburban) genuinely wanting to try this thing, but then the ticket machine doesn't work and they are aggravated and miss the streetcar is too damn high! Those are people who's opinions are now permanently tainted, and more susceptible to the "wasted money" mantra.

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No periodic visitor knows the EZ Ride app exists. 

 

I am still confused as to why they chose to do the physical tickets by time period instead of trip.  The options should have simply been 1 trip or All Day.  The business about time confuses people and all the while the streetcar is approaching. 

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1 hour ago, jmecklenborg said:

I am still confused as to why they chose to do the physical tickets by time period instead of trip.  The options should have simply been 1 trip or All Day.  The business about time confuses people and all the while the streetcar is approaching. 

 

How would you make sure that a "1 trip" ticket was not used more than once?

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I've used the 2 hour trip for two and three uses before (sometimes I grab lunch at Findlay Market or leave my work badge at home).  Maybe the label of it could be changed to be less confusing, but the fine print can just say 2 hours?


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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13 minutes ago, taestell said:

 

How would you make sure that a "1 trip" ticket was not used more than once?

 

It would say "1-trip" in big letters.  Then, in small letters, valid for 60 minutes from time stamp

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2 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

No periodic visitor knows the EZ Ride app exists. 

 

I am still confused as to why they chose to do the physical tickets by time period instead of trip.  The options should have simply been 1 trip or All Day.  The business about time confuses people and all the while the streetcar is approaching. 

 

38 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

It would say "1-trip" in big letters.  Then, in small letters, valid for 60 minutes from time stamp

 

So... time. 

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1 hour ago, thomasbw said:

 

 

So... time. 

 

Yeah this is the silliness we are stuck with since transit planners hate tokens even though the public loves them. 

 

Before the Charlie Card (like, when Cranley's parents were paying his Harvard tuition), the MBTA fare machines took quarters OR tokens.  It was really, really convenient.  For $10 you got 11 tokens, so they tried to incentivize token use, but you didn't have to screw around trying to buy tokens if your streetcar was coming. 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

Yeah this is the silliness we are stuck with since transit planners hate tokens even though the public loves them. 

 

Before the Charlie Card (like, when Cranley's parents were paying his Harvard tuition), the MBTA fare machines took quarters OR tokens.  It was really, really convenient.  For $10 you got 11 tokens, so they tried to incentivize token use, but you didn't have to screw around trying to buy tokens if your streetcar was coming. 

 

 

 

 

 

And you make money from seigniorage with tokens removed from circulation

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56 minutes ago, thomasbw said:

And you make money from seigniorage with tokens removed from circulation

 

Especially commemorative tokens:

 

The 50 State Quarters series of quarters (25-cent coins) began in 1999. The U.S. government thought that many people, collecting each new quarter as it rolled out of the United States Mint, would remove the coins from circulation.[8] Each complete set of quarters (the 50 states, the five inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia) is worth $14.00. Since it costs the mint about five cents to produce one quarter, the government made a profit when someone collected a coin.[9] The Treasury Department estimates that it earned about $6.3 billion in seigniorage from the quarters during the program.[10]

 

 

 

 

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The Kansas City streetcars (or at least one of them) have been wrapped in Royals livery:

 

Years ago I argued that having each individual streetcar could and should be sponsored by various local teams/institutions.  People counter-argued that that is cheesy, but I stand by it.  I hate to say it but I think the Cincinnati Bell sponsorship sucked a lot of soul out of the system. 

 

Reds

Bengals

UC

Xavier

Soccer

Zoo

Art Museum

Etc

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jmecklenborg

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This editorial by John Schneider is awesome (and long overdue - thanks John):

 

Streetcar’s No. 1 roadblock? City Hall

Published: March 13, 2019

For no good reason, City Hall has taken over management of the streetcar from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. Our city has no experience managing a rail transit system. For good measure, the city appointed a lawyer with no transit experience to oversee the operation.

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/03/14/streetcar-s-no-1-roadblock-city-hall.html?u=x26E64qTM4GUjuNBOsoKtMaWVlG&t=1552585459&j=87235371

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OMG, it seems the TRAFFIC STUDY is about to be revealed.

 

Traffic study: shorter green lights, ride-share zones, streetcar signals, more parking meters

Published 9:16 a.m. ET March 19, 2019

Among the recommendations:

  • Retime traffic lights so vehicles get a shorter green light and pedestrians get a longer light. Vehicles would lose four to five seconds while pedestrians would gain the same.
  • Set designated pickup/dropoff zones for taxis, Uber and Lyft cars.
  • Give the streetcar signal priority at four intersections. That would cost about $80,000 – largely for new hardware – and would require city council approval.
  • Add more parking meters Downtown, including some pay-by -cell-only zones for a pilot program. That would also require council approval. 

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/03/19/cincinnati-traffic-study-shorter-green-lights-ride-share-zones-streetcar-signals-more-parking-meters/3210128002/

Funny how only the cost of the streetcar-related item is reported.

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Enquirer's recipe for steak tartare:

 

1) Dollar figure greater than the median income

2) Streetcar

3) Intentional lack of context

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Also no mention of turning on the signal preemption devices that have already been installed but which Cranley won't allow them to use.  I think those are at Liberty and Central Parkway.  $0 

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Downtown traffic changes are coming

 

The city of Cincinnati is starting to change how people and vehicles flow through downtown in response to recent studies, new federal guidelines and a desire to improve the streetcar’s on-time performance.

 

Under the existing downtown traffic system, the majority of traffic light cycle time is given to vehicles. The city’s transportation director, Joe Vogel, told council earlier this week that under the revised system, it will be rebalanced to give pedestrians more time to cross streets. 

...

The department also has recommended allowing the Cincinnati streetcar to extend the timing of a green light at four intersections – Race and Liberty, Ninth and Walnut, Elm and Liberty and Second and Walnut streets. That could improve the streetcar’s on-time performance, which has been as bad as 40 percent. A transponder in the vehicle will allow the driver to extend a green light so it can pass. 

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/03/22/downtown-traffic-changes-are-coming.html

 

streetcartraffic-copy*1200xx1800-1014-0-


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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I'd really like to know more about the supposed $80,000 cost of turning on signal priority at those four intersections. From what I have been told, all of the existing equipment is already in place and just needs to be turned on. So I don't know what that money is being spent on.

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It’s only 4 lights, but the Liberty and Second Street intersections are big and have lengthy lights. Hopefully this small change will lead to improved performance, and Council will allow for prioritization at the other identified intersections. I see this as a small win. And the prioritization of street crossing signals for pedestrians is a positive thing, too. I imagine this just entails starting the pedestrian walk light a few seconds before the light turns green for cars. 

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This is just a reminder that negative press about a transit project in a city is, well, normal.

 

Red Line construction gives Fountain Square motorists the runaround

 

The massive, expensive and controversial Red Line bus route won’t be running for months, but it is already causing problems for some business in one of the city’s most trendy and hard-to-find neighborhoods.

 

Residents, customers and commuters say they are getting the runaround as they try to get in and out of Fountain Square.

 

Virginia Avenue, Fountain Square’s main street, is closed. Navigating the neighborhood’s detours to reach shops, restaurants and business can be tricky.

 

"I hear people say we just turn around and leave because we can’t get there," said Zachary Davis, a business owner and president of the Fountain Square Merchant’s Association

 

More below:

https://www.wthr.com/article/red-line-construction-gives-fountain-square-motorists-runaround


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Looks like there's a public meeting to discuss what can be done to make the streetcar more reliable.  Hmmm, I wonder...

 

Let's try and get some people there to voice support for the easy fixes!

 

 

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Streetcar schedule expected to change

 

Changes are expected later this year to the hours of operation for the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar. The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which oversees operations, is surveying people on the best hours to run the streetcar to maximize service during times people are riding it.

 

The changes “are aimed at enhancing streetcar ridership without adding to operational costs,” according to Metro, and to “shift service from low-productivity times to higher productivity times."

 

The new potential schedules largely align with data obtained by the Business Courier in January. It showed ridership is highest during the middle of the day, after about noon on Saturday and Sunday, and between about 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ridership tends to be poorest early in the morning and late at night.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/04/02/streetcar-schedule-expected-to-change.html

 

streetcartraffic-copy*1200xx1800-1014-0-


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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5 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

It would be interesting to compare these graphs to KC's hourly ridership. 

I just requested them, I'll post if I get them and if that's allowed. 

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Kansas City had 211,456 riders in March. 

 

Our March ridership isn't in yet, but even if March is 150% above projections (my guess is that it will be within 5% of projections) Kansas City had more riders in March than we had in October, November, December, January, February and March combined

 

And once again here's the routes to scale

 

image.thumb.png.9e2e1a447bc97a855860834518686f75.png

Edited by thomasbw
Added picture, figured out you don't have to type [b] and all that anymore

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1 minute ago, thomasbw said:

I just requested them, I'll post if I get them and if that's allowed. 

 

Also, it would be useful to see which hours we operate 2 versus 3 streetcars. 

 

Improved signal timing and running 3 streetcars earlier and later would attract a lot more ridership during those hours. 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

Also, it would be useful to see which hours we operate 2 versus 3 streetcars. 

 

Improved signal timing and running 3 streetcars earlier and later would attract a lot more ridership during those hours. 

 

 

 

Right now 2 streetcars until 11am and after 7pm weekdays; 3 streetcars 11-7

 

Saturdays I thinks it's a similar 2-3-2 but I'm not sure of the exact hours, Sundays I think it's just 2  (I could be wrong on that one)

Edited by thomasbw

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1 minute ago, thomasbw said:

Right now 2 streetcars until 11am and after 7pm weekdays; 3 streetcars 11-7

 

Saturdays I thinks it's a similar 2-3-2 but I'm not sure of the exact hours, Sundays I think it's just 2  (I could be wrong on that one)

 

Also, Kansas City will soon receive the two streetcars it ordered in 2017, bringing its fleet to six.  So sometime this fall they will regularly operate 5 streetcars for free, something we haven't done since our opening weekend back in 2016. 

 

We only ran two during Riverfest 2017.  And by we, I mean Cranley. 

 

 

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The operating hours proposed by the streetcar's planners were 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday; and 6 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

 

In December 2015, Cranley proposed that the streetcar should run until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. City Council compromised and agreed to the hours we have today (operating til 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights).

 

Quote

“It will be a lot more restaurant- and bar-friendly,” Mayor John Cranley said. “It just makes more sense.” [...]

 

“There needs to be further discussion and a review of best practices from other streetcar systems,” said Over-the-Rhine resident Derek Bauman, regional director of All Aboard Ohio, a statewide passenger rail advocacy group. “This isn’t just for people late night at bars. This is for moving people around the city between every type of activity.”

 

Now the city is basically going back to the original plan.

 

 

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Here's something interesting I found looking at the seasonality of Cincinnati's streetcar ridership, Kansas City's follows an almost identical pattern (the y axises are scaled differently)

 

image.png.8ddb5ddec2234ea25448858798935f96.png

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This whole free fare thing might just work-

 

https://twitter.com/BRADLEYWTHOMAS/status/1113472315998838786

 

In February 2018 the @TampaStreetcar had 25,221 riders. Tampa went fare-free in late 2018. In February 2019 ridership more than tripled to 82,996. Peak service is 15 minute headways, off peak service is 20 minute headways. Remove the fare barrier and ridership explodes.

 

I'm not sure how to imbed tweets. 

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^ Fare-free would appeal to groups, and thus increase ridership exponentially. Right now, it's typically cheaper for a group of 4 or 5 people to take an Uber or pay for parking than it is to take the Streetcar. I don't know if it'd make a huge difference for lone riders or daily commuters, but I think it would certainly see an increase in  groups of people traveling together.

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