M-1 RAIL Announces Education Campaign as Ridership Exceeds Expectations

After a successful first week of passenger operations, the QLINE will extend free rides to the public for an additional six weeks, M-1 RAIL announced today. Revenue operations will begin July 1 with an additional rider and transit education program to occur beginning next week. 

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the enthusiastic reception the QLINE received from riders during our first week,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “We significantly exceeded our initial ridership projections. Residents of the Woodward Corridor, Detroiters from across the city and visitors throughout SE Michigan helped make this weekend a success and we’re committed to building on this opportunity. We appreciate all the great rider feedback we’ve received and we’re incorporating a number of suggestions into our operations.”

QLINE had nearly 50,000 riders its first week, averaging 8,300 riders per day over its first weekend and 5,120 riders from Monday-Thursday. Many experiencing the route for the first time rode the full 6.6 mile loop, causing large crowds on the platforms and headway times longer than expected. Due to the high demand, M-1 RAIL will increase the number of vehicles on the route during heavy ridership periods. 

“Extending our free ride promotion will allow all Detroiters to experience the QLINE prior to the start of revenue operations,” said Cullen. “It will help integrate the streetcar into daily commutes and provide the necessary time for educating the riding public about the system. It’s the right way to build sustainable QLINE ridership and support our goal of a true regional transit system.”

M-1 RAIL also gained valuable experience in servicing its first special event crowd with the Detroit Tigers home series this week and continues to work to accommodate the large crowds expected for games, concerts and special events throughout the summer season. M-1 RAIL will operate the QLINE until midnight on Sunday, May 21 to serve riders attending the Detroit Tigers game which starts at 8 p.m. 

“As we refine operations to accommodate demand, it’s also clear a public education campaign to help transit users is needed in SE Michigan,” said M-1 RAIL Vice President for External Affairs Sommer Woods. “Over the next six weeks, we will deploy street teams at station stops to assist riders in navigating the system and connecting to the destinations throughout the Woodward Corridor.”

M-1 RAIL owns and operates the QLINE, a 6.6-mile circulating streetcar loop serving 12 locations on Woodward Ave. from Downtown Detroit through Midtown, New Center and the North End. The three-piece articulated QLINE streetcars are 66 feet long and carry 125 passengers on average. QLINE is powered by a 750-volt lithium ion battery, operating 60% off-wire, the highest percentage of any streetcar system in the United States. The QLINE travels with traffic at speeds up to 30 mph, the maximum speed on Woodward Ave.

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