Oklahoma City to receive last streetcar; prepares for start of service

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An Oklahoma City streetcar conducts a test run. The new service is scheduled to begin operation Dec. 14.

OKLAHOMA CITY — With the last of its seven vehicles due to arrive today from builder Brookville Equipment Corp., Oklahoma City’s new streetcar system is moving closer to operation. Revenue service is scheduled to begin Dec. 14, 2018.

Using existing city streets, the vehicles will traverse two overlapping loops. The main 4.8-mile downtown loop serves the city core, connecting the convention center, hotels, museums, and government buildings. It will operate six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Normally, four cars will circle the line on 12-minute headways, taking 36 minutes to complete each loop.

The 2-mile Bricktown line loops around the city’s entertainment and nightlife district. Service will be limited to Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 am to 2:00 am the following morning. One vehicle will circle this line every 15 minutes. A storage and maintenance facility was constructed about half a mile south of the loop at Southwest 7th Street and Hudson Avenue.

“Testing and training is underway,” says Michael Scroggins, public information office for EMBARK, the Oklahoma City agency responsible for transit and parking. Herzog Transit Services has been contracted to manage operations and maintenance for the system.

Oklahoma City will use the same Brookville “Liberty Streetcar” design currently in use on the Dallas streetcar system, QLINE Detroit, and the just-opened Milwaukee operation known as “The Hop.” The 66-foot, 8-inch long cars carry up to 104 passengers. Deliveries to Oklahoma City began in February of this year under a $33.7-million contract.

The streetcars will use an onboard lithium-ion battery storage system for a portion of each route, drawing power where overhead wires are available to recharge and run the vehicles. The seven high-tech streetcars can be upgraded in the future to self-driving technology. However, Scroggins said there are no plans to implement autonomous operations.

The cars are ADA-accessible and single-trip fares are set at $1. Riders will be able to purchase an all-day pass for $3, a monthly for $32 or an annual pass for $384. Each of the 22 station stops is provided with covered shelters, ticket vending machines, and arrival information signs.

The $131-million OKC Streetcar project is funded by a one-cent sales tax that was imposed from April 2010 to December 2017.


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