(Washington, DC)—After the highly successful launch of the DC Streetcar on February 27, 2016, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced a return to a service schedule without passengers, as initiated in December 2015. A detailed study into the DC Streetcar service conducted over the past eight weeks has yielded substantial data in support of the “no passengers” mode of operation. Side-by-side comparisons of the DC Streetcar during the opening run “no passengers” between December and February with the period from February to present made a persuasive case to a panel of independent traffic consultants, who summarized their conclusions as follows:
- Without passengers, DC Streetcars were more efficient, keeping strictly to the scheduled times between stops, without interruptions or delays.
- The cars were cleaner and easier to maintain; often returning to the maintenance facility at the end of the day in the same condition as at the start of a morning run.
- Risks of accidents/injuries were practically eliminated, saving the system millions in insurance and liability claims.
- Sharply reduced need for employees to work with public - except for public communications officers to tweet about the high quality of the Streetcar system
- Substantial savings across the board, helping to bring down the budget overruns that have plagued the $200 million dollar system, engendering many hard-to-deflect questions from the media.
In addition to all the above-named benefits, the independent panel hailed several advantages of DC Streetcar operations, none of which rely upon the presence of passengers to produce the intended effect:
- Having a clean, modern streetcar system puts Washington, DC into the same class as forward-thinking cities such as Melbourne, Helsinki, and Munich.
- The presence of a streetcar system marks a city that is both eco-friendly and well-designed, as the sleek and streamlined streetcars add to the ambiance at ground level, while the jazzy crisscrossing of the overhead lines give a Mondrian-esque artistry to the sky.
- Streetcars enhance the driving experience, presenting motorists with a challenge, sharpening their driving skills by requiring them to navigate different terrains –tracks and bump-outs– making driving more like a virtual reality game….but in actual reality.
- Streetcars enhance the exploration of neighborhoods, especially as the removal of curbside parking incentivizes drivers to learn the ins and outs of the surrounding street grid, as they search for the few remaining spaces.
- Streetcars sharpen pedestrian skills, too, by adding variety to the types of vehicles encountered while on foot; when you don’t know whether what’s coming around the corner is a streetcar, a bus, or an Uber, or something else entirely, you become an alert pedestrian.
If project continues to succeed over the next three-month study period, DDOT may launch similar programs on other forms of public transportation, include no-passenger bus routes. No passenger Metro lines are soon to be announced. The Maryland Department of Transportation is currently studying the feasibility of creating a Purple Line that will be “No Passengers” from its inception – with a possible opening date as early as 2056.
For more information about the “No Passengers” DC Streetcar Study, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/cmqa52t.
Customers can stay informed of any service alerts by visiting dcstreeetcar.com. Follow @dcstreetcar on Twitter for updates.