M-1 RAIL officials today announced significant operational improvements have helped to grow ridership on the light-rail service along Woodward Avenue in Detroit. QLINE ridership has increased from an average of 4,000 trips per day the week of June 12 to an average of 6,300 the week of July 17.
“Over the past month, we have improved QLINE service, putting more streetcars on the road, reducing wait times between vehicles, and integrated rider feedback into our operational enhancement plan,” says Matt Cullen CEO of M-1 RAIL. “Many more people have had the opportunity to experience the QLINE for the first time and Detroiters are beginning to integrate the streetcar system into their daily travel.”
During its first full year of revenue operations, the M-1 RAIL system expects to average 5,000 trips each day. M-1 RAIL has increased the number of streetcars operating during peak ridership hours in order to better meet ridership demands. The QLINE now runs five streetcars Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The QLINE plans to begin revenue operations in September. In mid-June The Kresge Foundation announced an extension of free QLINE ride services through Labor Day to ensure fully refined system operations.
Daily average headway (time between vehicles) has improved to an average of 16:49 Monday-Saturday since the week of June 12 when it was more than 19 minutes. The operational improvements have reduced a round trip ride on the QLINE by 6 minutes in the past month.
“We’ve worked with our operational partner Transdev to implement policies that will ensure streetcars arrive at consistent 15-minute intervals during peak service,” says Paul Childs, M-1 RAIL COO. “We’re pleased to see that wait times have decreased by 20 percent since the start of operations and 12 percent over the past month. We expect to see continuous improvements between now and Labor Day and beyond.”
M-1 RAIL continues working with Nextbus, its streetcar arrival technology provider, to bring riders an accurate prediction system. Data accuracy has seen incremental improvements in the last six weeks with further changes to station kiosks expected before the start of revenue operations. Many also feel service could be improved with the creation of a mobile application, similar to Uber, to take the guesswork out of estimated arrival times and managing the train’s schedule.
M-1 RAIL’s operations enhancement plan includes adding streetcar operations staff, traffic signal optimization, a new stop policy, less time spent charging, and enhanced transit police enforcement.