The QLINE will extend free fares to all riders through Labor Day thanks to a generous contribution from The Kresge Foundation. During the nine-week extended free fare period, QLINE and its service provider, Transdev, will make specific operational and rider experience improvements to the new streetcar service, which opened to the public on May 12.
“We are thrilled by the enthusiastic reception the QLINE has received in Detroit and across the region,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “We’re building toward our ridership goals and appreciate the support of the Kresge Foundation to provide complimentary service for all riders while we make service improvements that will ensure we can sustain the early success of the QLINE. The vehicles have been performing beyond our expectations. We’ve experienced no major issues and rider feedback has been very positive.”
The QLINE served over 100,000 riders during its first month, with average vehicle wait times (headway) of 20 minutes Monday-Saturday and 30 minutes on Sunday. Headway times improved 10 percent during the first month of service, however reducing vehicle wait times and improving the consistency of service is a top priority for M-1 RAIL over the next two months.
“The QLINE holds much promise as an integral piece of a true regional transit system and we are invested in its long-term success,” said Kresge President & CEO Rip Rapson. “With dozens of summer festivals and activities up and down the Woodward Corridor, our motivation to extend free fares is to expose every city and metro resident to the QLINE. Building a sustainable ridership will enable the streetcar to continue to serve as a positive demonstration project for regional transit.”
In addition to its initial $50 million contribution to the M-1 RAIL streetcar project, Kresge has committed to cover expected ridership revenue from July 1 through September 4, 2017.
“M-1 RAIL will work with our operational partner Transdev North America to provide consistent service with streetcars arriving every 15 minutes on weekdays in the short term and 12 minutes long-term,” said M-1 RAIL COO Paul Childs. “We’ve outlined a series of operational improvements that will be addressed by Labor Day, which include:
Station Information Kiosks
M-1 RAIL is working with its real-time transit information provider to improve the accuracy of predicted streetcar arrivals.
Peak / off-peak operations
Additional operators are currently being trained and will be deployed in the coming weeks to allow the full implementation of a four-car service during off-peak operations and a five-car operation during peak service times.
Traffic Policy and Signal Preemption
QLINE operational policies have been revised to limit unnecessary time in traffic along the route. In addition, M-1 RAIL continues to work with MDOT and the City of Detroit to authorize signal priority at select intersections along Woodward Avenue, including:
Congress Ave. (complete)
Campus Martius (complete)
Burroughs St. (in process)
Montcalm St. (in process)
QLINE station stops without passengers boarding or exiting the streetcar will be bypassed. The QLINE will stop at all stations with waiting passengers. It will also stop when onboard passengers push the “stop” button aboard the streetcar, indicating their intention to exit the streetcar.
Reducing Charge Times
The performance of the QLINE’s battery powering system has exceeded expectations, reducing the amount of time needed for vehicle charging along the route. The QLINE will begin to operate approximately 80% off-wire, eliminating approximately three minutes of battery charge time on every roundtrip.
Transit Police Enforcement
New development along Woodward Ave. has continued at an aggressive pace. M-1 RAIL continues to work closely with transit police to enforce policies that keep the QLINE route free of vehicle and construction obstructions.
M-1 RAIL owns and operates the QLINE, a 6.6-mile circulating streetcar route serving 12 locations on Woodward Ave. from Downtown Detroit through Midtown, New Center and the North End. The QLINE is the first major transit project led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local, state and the federal government. The QLINE operates from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.- midnight on Friday, 8 a.m. -midnight on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday.