OKLAHOMA CITY – The streetcar has finally hit the rails in downtown Oklahoma City, and city leaders say they are extending the free trial period for riders.
It has been decades since streetcars traveled through downtown Oklahoma City, and city officials say there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the start of the new transportation method.
To kick off the start of the streetcar, EMBARK announced that rides would be free until Saturday, Jan. 5.
However, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt announced that the free trial period has been extended until Feb. 1.
"I am excited to announce, on behalf of @cityofokc, @EMBARKOK & @OKCStreetcar that the free trial period for Streetcar is being extended through Friday, February 1st. The remarkable ridership so far demonstrates the excitement our community has for this new amenity. At the same time, many of our citizens are still learning how to use the system & our team is still learning how best to operate it. In just three weeks, we've had the opening, rain, ice & New Year's Eve. In all of that, there really hasn't been time for passengers & operators to experience 'regular' service for an extended period & there certainly hasn't been time to properly phase in fare collection. Fares are still necessary to help offset operating costs, but we want to do this right. Look for a lot more public education in the weeks ahead about fares, and enjoy your ride! #LoveTheLoops," Holt tweeted.
After Feb.1, 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, 7-day and 30-day EMBARK bus passes also include streetcar service.
Officials remind drivers that the streetcars travel along a designated path, so they can’t improvise or react to mistakes by other motorists.
- Do not overtake or pass any streetcar, even if it isn’t moving.
- Never park on the tracks.
- Park your entire vehicle within the white lines of designated parking spaces to avoid damage to your vehicle.
- Watch for approaching streetcars before turning, or opening your car door if you are parked.
- Always use your turn signal if you plan to drive along the tracks.
- Never tailgate the streetcar.
City officials say drivers should also be prepared to stop since streetcars travel at or below the posted speed limits and make frequent stops. Officials say streetcars also have their own traffic signals that are not intended for motorists, cyclists or pedestrians.
The streetcar has two route options: the 4.8 mile ‘Downtown Loop’ and 2 mile ‘Bricktown Loop.’
Every stop will be served every 15 to 18 minutes, and officials say each streetcar can carry 104 passengers.
The ‘Downtown Loop’ will begin service at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. on Saturday. Service ends at midnight Monday to Thursday, and 2 a.m. on Friday night (Saturday morning) and Saturday nights (Sunday mornings).
The ‘Bricktown Loop’ will run 7 a.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. It will also be activated for other special events.
Officials say the streetcar system will be operational on Sundays when there are large special events along the route. Sunday service is already scheduled every Sunday through the end of January for Thunder games.