The Portland Streetcar averaged 16,650 weekday riders in April, setting a record for the city’s 17-year-old system. The high watermark for Portland Streetcar represents a contrast to declining transit ridership in most major cities across the country. Cities that are seeing ridership increase, like Seattle and Houston, are investing in their transit networks by improving service, redesigning networks, and implementing new technology.
“The Streetcar’s success in moving people through and around the central city is clearer than ever,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “With ridership growing, the Streetcar remains an important tool to fight congestion in our growing city.”
The Streetcar averaged on-time performance of 84 percent in April. The Portland City Council recently approved the purchase of two new cars to add frequency and reliability to the system. Those cars are being built by Brookville Equipment Corporation and are expected to enter service in 2020. In 2017, Portland Streetcar also partnered with Tri-Met and C-TRAN to launch Hop Fastpass, an electronic fare payment system that allows riders to pay with contactless cards or mobile devices.
The previous highest average weekday ridership was 16,351 in February 2017. The Portland Streetcar has provided more than 56 million rides since opening in 2001 and now serves 4.7 million riders per year. Overall ridership increased 10 percent in 2017, with nearly the entire increase occurring on the east side.
Daily ridership averages by line:
NS Line: 9,226
A/B Loop: 7,424
When the Portland Streetcar began service in 2001, it was the first of the country’s modern streetcar systems. Over the past 15 years, more than 10 American cities have followed suit and built their own streetcars, with new systems about to open in El Paso, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, and Tempe. Portland Streetcar’s daily ridership is expected to grow to 20,000 riders by 2025.