Say Hello to the Streetcar

Cincinnati Bell Connector

The Cincinnati Bell Connector is now up and running for public use. (Image source: http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/streetcar/)

If you’ve ever wished for an easier way to get around downtown, your wish was granted this past weekend with the opening of the Cincinnati streetcar. The brand-new transportation system, freshly dubbed the Cincinnati Bell Connector, launched into motion on Sept. 9. Don’t let the usual high traffic keep you away from downtown—just hop on the streetcar and explore the area hassle-free.

As of this week, the streetcar is open to the public for transportation along a 3.6-mile route. Riders can travel through the downtown and uptown areas, including historic Over-the-Rhine. The first stop is on Second Street at The Banks riverfront complex, traveling in a loop to Henry Street just north of Findlay Market in OTR. Want to go from Fountain Square to the Contemporary Arts Center, landing in Washington Park? The new streetcar can take you the entire way.

The streetcar operates 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can ride for 2 hours at a cost of $1, or pay $2 to ride all day. Rides are free with a valid Metro 30-day pass, day pass or transfer. Older adults and people with disabilities who hold Metro Fare Deal passes pay half the standard fare with their Fare Deal ID card. Children under 35 inches tall ride free, and children under 45 inches tall pay half the standard fare.

You don’t need to worry about having exact change or even finding a ticket machine—just download the Cincy EZRide app to purchase your streetcar fare. The app can be downloaded for free from Google Play or the Apple Store, eliminating the need for paper tickets and cash. Real-time bus and streetcar tracking features will be available, so you won’t be left waiting around for your ride to arrive.

Once aboard, the streetcar’s first passengers are reporting that the air conditioning is cold, the lighting is good and the ride is smooth. Safety and convenience are key to the success of the new system, and so far, the Cincinnati Bell Connector lives up to its promise of an easier and safer way to get around downtown.  

Cincinnati has had a long and sometimes troubled relationship with transportation, including a failed subway system and short-lived initiatives tangled up in bureaucratic red tape. The streetcar project itself was plagued with political and planning issues from the start. A decade’s worth of work and $148 million later, the streetcar is finally a reality. Ditch the car, leave the bus behind and check out Cincinnati’s newest transit system next time you’re in the downtown area.

Written by Dakota Wright, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office

Streetcar quick stats

Hours of operation

  • 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.

Ticket pricing

  • $1 for two hours
  • $2 for an all-day pass
  • Free with a valid Metro 30-day pass, day pass or transfer
  • Children under 35 inches ride for free; between 35 and 45 inches for 50 cents; and over 45 inches for full fare

Logistics

  • Streetcars are wheelchair, bike and stroller-friendly
  • No pets (service animals permitted)
  • No smoking
  • No open-container alcohol