New Year, New Transit

2019 promises to be another banner year for transit.

This year, there will be 89 major heavy rail, light rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit and commuter rail projects under construction in North America. These projects total more than 830 miles of new public transportation options, and they will cost more than $91 billion to complete.

Despite four new streetcar lines opening in 2018, none of the five under construction right now are scheduled to launch in 2019.

But for streetcars already in service, passenger numbers continue to grow. Turning to our friends once again in Kansas City, ridership just keeps exceeding expectations, so much that they are adding two new cars to the line in 2019. Quoting their year-end press release:

During 2018, KC Streetcar ridership logged seven straight months of year-over-year monthly ridership growth and closed out the year with a total of 2,114,886 rides, up from 2,060,327 in 2017. The KC Streetcar marked its 5 millionth ride in September and its highest one-day ridership on July 6 with 19,181 trips.

“The steady increase in streetcar ridership is a direct reflection of the residential and employment growth downtown,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “For every new housing unit built, the KC Streetcar gains another rider. More streetcar riders equal more downtown activity and a direct downtown economic impact.”

Additional 2018 KC Streetcar ridership statistics include:

  • The average daily ridership was 5,794
  • The Big XII Basketball Tournament completed 31,009 trips
  • The 3-day Labor Day weekend had 33,424 trips
  • 262,593 trips were completed in July, the highest ridership month to date
  • 169,254 trips were taken in December, an increase of more than 19,000 from the previous December