Letís ride: OKC streetcar vision comes to life

Published: Friday, December 14, 2018 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record
to avoid the wind with temperatures in the 40s.

“If you’re downtown, the streetcar is going to be the coolest way to get around – just hop on, hop off,” McDermid said.

The streetcar system will be free to the public through Jan. 5. After that, fares will be $1 for a single ride, $3 for a 24-hour pass, $32 for a 30-day pass and $384 for an annual pass. Daily, seven-day and 30-day Embark bus passes also include streetcar service. Route maps, platform locations and other related information is available online at okcstreetcar.com.

The streetcar has 22 stops along the full route, two loops that run as far south as SW Third Street, north to Midtown at NW 11th, west as far as Dewey Avenue, and east through Bricktown to Russell M. Perry Avenue.

Five of the city’s seven cars were running Friday, each with a capacity of about 100 people. COTPA spokesman Michael Scroggins said the others can be brought online in response to demand or to allow for repairs. Streetcar speeds reach up to 30 mph in some stretches, the downtown speed limit.

Some riders struggled with the coordination of disembarking with the rest of their party, resulting in several delayed stops. Scroggins said afternoon data showed travelers were waiting 15-18 minutes between cars Friday.

Thanks to a donation of technology by Edmond-based U.S. Fleet, expected car arrival times were posted at each stop, continuously adjusted with GPS data depending on conditions elsewhere in the system. Scroggins said officials are looking into the possibility of a smartphone app.

Riders showed their appreciation for streetcar conductors Friday with applause during shift changes. Scroggins said he was trying to ignore social media feedback during one of the circuits with his family so that he could experience it just like everyone else.

Debe Staten, a member of the Oklahoma City Senior Citizens Association for the Deaf, enjoyed the first-day ride with about 17 other members of OKCSCAD. Only one of them actually works downtown.

“They wanted to join the fun,” Staten said of the group. “They were thrilled with it. Many of them said they would go back again so they wouldn’t have to drive so much. It’s hard to drive and sign at the same time. This is going to change things.”

Read the story at JournalRecord.com

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