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. 

Click here for more information on performance and statistics.

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Portland, Ore.— The City Council gave Portland Streetcar the green light Wednesday to purchase two new streetcars, allowing for more frequent service on the system’s A and B Loops connecting Downtown and the Central Eastside. As Portland continues to add new residents at a rapid pace, the additional vehicles will improve Portland Streetcar’s ability to connect people to housing, jobs, and services in the Central City when the new cars enter the fleet in 2020. 

“As the first modern streetcar system in the United States, Portland Streetcar has been an important part of building the city’s international reputation as an exceptionally livable city,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “I’m glad to see Portland Streetcar continue to add capacity and improve service as the need for transportation options in the Central City grows.”

The new cars will come equipped with a host of quality-of-life improvements, including additional seating, extra room for mobility devices, and improved signage.

"Portland Streetcar fills an important transportation need in the Central City, connecting Portlanders to jobs, services, and educational opportunities,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. “These new vehicles will make Portland Streetcar even more valuable and reliable as an option for getting around the city.”

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve service for streetcar riders,” said Portland Streetcar Executive Director Dan Bower. “In the past couple years, we’ve added service to the North/South line and consolidated stops to save time and enhance safety. The addition of these two new cars from Brookville will help us take that next step and further reduce the time Portlanders are waiting to board the streetcar.” 

The new streetcars, manufactured by Brookville Equipment Co. of Brookville, Pennsylvania, were funded in-part by $700,000 in contributions from Go Lloyd, the Central Eastside Industrial District, and Northwest Portland parking meter revenue.

“Brookville is eager and excited to provide the City of Portland and its growing ridership with American-designed and manufactured Liberty Streetcars that we hope will enhance Portland’s legacy and success with its innovative, proven system,” said Rick Graham, President. “This is a very big moment for our century-old organization and, we hope, the beginning of a long-lasting partnership between Brookville, the City of Portland, and Portland Streetcar, Inc.”

“Go Lloyd is proud to support Portland Streetcar by contributing funds toward the purchase of additional vehicles,” said Go Lloyd Executive Director Own Ronchelli. “More streetcars will support Lloyd’s ability to welcome new residents and businesses by providing more frequent service to and from Lloyd destinations and the greater Central City.”

About the Portland Streetcar

As the first modern streetcar system to be built in the United States, the Portland Streetcar serves 15,000 riders each day on the A/B Loops and the North/South (NS) Line. Ridership is expected to grow to 20,000 riders per day by 2025.

 

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Take a trip down memory lane as we reminisce about some of the big events from 2017.

January

  • The year started off with a bang when 5 separate snow and ice events put a damper on service in January.


  • January also marked the 10 year anniversary of the Portland Aerial Tram.  Oregon Health Sciences University and the City of Portland partnered on a fun week long celebration.

February

  • We enjoyed the lights and festivities of the 2nd Annual Portland Winter Light Festival at OMSI and the South Waterfront.
  • Broke our ridership record with 16,351 riders each weekday in February.  The highest ever for Portland Streetcar.

March

  • We released the story of Portland Streetcar in "From Concept to Reality", a video telling the story of Portland Streetcar from the 1980s to present day.  The video can be seen in our Video Gallery.
  • Operations performed a run time test on the A & B Loops in an effort to improve schedules and improve reliability on both lines.

May

  • Free Ride First Thursday began its second year thanks to the continued sponsorship of Wave G.
  • TriMet's upgrades at SW 11th & Morrison resulted in a 2 week special service with a bus shuttle on 10th & 11th Avenues.  Streetcars turned around at SW Market using a special signal.

June

  • Streetcar service was provided for the first time ever during both the Grand Floral and Starlight Parades during Rose Festival 2017.
  • We were a proud sponsor of Pints in the Pearl and began rolling out information on the upcoming Hop Fastpass.
  • We held our first ever Scavenger Hunt in partnership with Growler Guys South Waterfront.

July

  • Launched the long awaited Hop Fastpass with partners TriMet and C-TRAN.


  • Held a First Thursday Open House of Streetcar Art by local artist Lynne Leahy.
  • Construction began on the Broadway Bridge to replace the four rall wheels that open and close the bridge.  Construction is anticipated to last throughout 2017.

August

  • Got to know one of the many teachers who make use of the sponsored school field trips. 

September

  • Updated schedules for all three lines increased frequency on the NS Line to 15-minute service beginning at the start of each weekday and increased the reliability of the B-Loop during the PM peak.
  • Held our second Scavenger Hunt in partnership with Growler Guys South Waterfront.
  • We released updated development data outlining the relationship between housing and the Streetcar.
  • Hosted our second First Thursday Art Show of the year.  This time featuring art created by employees of Portland Streetcar.


Photo by Rip City Photography

October

  • We partnered with the Community Streetcar Coalition to bring two advocacy super stars to Portland to talk Streetcar advocacy in Cincinnati and Kansas City and how that applies to Portland Streetcar.
  • We held our 8th Streetcar Mobile Music Fest featuring 10 acts and did our first Facebook and Twitter live videos.
  • We debuted a new "How 2 Ride" video helping answer some frequently asked questions about riding streetcar.  The video can be found in our Video Gallery.

Have questions on how to ride Portland Streetcar?  We have answers!  Our newly released video shows typical Portlandia riding Portland Streetcar and addresses some of the most commonly asked questions.  Learn more about how to deploy the ramp, what fares are accepted and how to share the low floor section of the Streetcar.

How 2 Ride Video
Click Image for Video


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Ever asked how you could get Portland Streetcar in your neighborhood? Wish that you could help get better frequency or improved station amenities? Want to learn more about what works in other communities? Join us as we partner with the Community Streetcar Coalition to welcome two fantastic citizen advocates; David Johnson (Kansas City, Missouri) and John Schneider (Cincinnati, Ohio) to Portland for a discussion on lessons learned in advocating for and building modern streetcar in their cities.

Grab a pint and connect with David & John as they discuss the winding path to modern streetcars in their cities, and lessons learned for Portland as we continue to grow. The interactive presentations and discussion will focus on their role in organizing and advocating citizen and business advocates in their respective cities.   

  • Date: October 19, 2017
  • Location: Ex Novo Brewing: Upper Room 2326 N. Flint Ave
  • Time: Doors open at 5:30, Presentations and discussion begin around 6pm