OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Residents have been sharing the road with the OKC streetcars for a whole year now. EMBARK told News 4 the cars have averaged more than 35,000 rides each month and nearly half a million riders all year.
“We love them. It’s a great way to get around the city. It really helps save on trying to find a parking place and it’s pretty fast. It gets you to where you need to go,” said Robert and Susan Wood, who live in Oklahoma City.
The project was voted on as part of MAPS 3 and cost $135 million dollars. While some have argued against the streetcar, EMBARK said it plays a larger role in the expansion of downtown transportation.
“One of the things to keep in mind is the streetcar is a long play investment. It’s not something that’s meant to just have this initial boom and fade away. This is something that we’re going to continue to see help our city succeed and be competitive when we want to see more companies locate downtown,” said Michael Scroggins, EMBARK Public Information officer.
The one-year celebration was held at the Bricktown ballpark with fun for the whole family. There were crafts, letters to Santa, music, and donations accepted to the Homeless Alliance.
“We’ve heard about the homeless alliance and we thought it’s a great organization. Wanted to help them if we could,” Robert said.
The city and EMBARK are already looking ahead to what’s next for the streetcar. In hopes of remaining a staple amongst downtown transportation.
“What we hope to do and continue to see happen is public transportation… Using it as a way to generate a mode for employees who need to get to work. At the same time, it’s an opportunity for people to park once when they come downtown and again, connect to all the different districts,” Scroggins said.
The streetcar will be offering free rides on the weekends, now through January 5th.