|Oklahoma City Streetcar|
|Other name(s)||OKC Downtown Streetcar|
|Locale||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|Daily ridership||3,943 |
|Opened||December 14, 2018|
|Operator(s)||Herzog Transit Services|
|Depot(s)||Santa Fe Transit Hub|
|Rolling stock||7 Brookville Liberty Modern Streetcars|
|Line length||4.8 mi (7.7 km)|
|Track length||5.6 mi (9.0 km)|
|Electrification||740 V DC overhead wire;lithium-ion battery|
|Operating speed||30 mph (48 km/h)|
The Oklahoma City Streetcar (OKC Streetcar), also known as the MAPS 3 streetcar, is a streetcar system in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The 4.8-mile (7.7 km) system serves the greater downtown Oklahoma City area using modern, low-floor streetcars, the first of which was delivered in mid-February 2018. The initial system would see two lines that connect Oklahoma City's Central Business District with the entertainment district, Bricktown, and the Midtown District. Expansion to other districts surrounding downtown as well as more routes in the CBD is already underway.
The streetcar was first conceived in a 2005 regional transit study known as the Fixed Guideway Study. The concept lay dormant until local Oklahoma City businessman, inventor, and political activist Jeff Bezdek promoted the project to the Oklahoma City Council to be considered as part of Metropolitan Area Projects Plan 3 (MAPS 3) program. Bezdek launched a strategic campaign called the Modern Transit Project to generate public support for the initiative. Polling indicated that the streetcar plan had a majority of support from likely voters. The Oklahoma City Council incorporated the concept into the MAPS program.
The system is financed through MAPS 3, a sales tax-financed public works program. The initiative was approved in 2009 via a majority vote by the citizens of Oklahoma City.
On September 29, 2015, the Oklahoma City city council approved the awarding of a $22 million contract to Inekon, of the Czech Republic, for the purchase of five streetcars, as well as spare parts and training. However, after Inekon failed to meet a one-month deadline for submitting required financial-guarantee information, project staff recommended switching to Brookville Equipment Corporation, another manufacturer that had also bid for the order. On November 10, the city council voted its approval for the staff to begin negotiations with Brookville for the streetcar contract. In March 2016, the city reached a final agreement with Brookville to purchase five streetcars, with an option for a sixth, at a cost of $24.9 million. The low-floor design is Brookville's "Liberty" model. In May 2016, the city council approved adding a sixth car to the order, and in February 2017 approved expanding the order to seven cars.
In December 2016, the city council awarded a $50 million contract for rail installation to builders Herzog and Stacy and Witbeck, with construction planned to begin in early 2017 and continue for about two years. The formal groundbreaking for the project took place on February 7, 2017. The project was expected to cost a total of $131.8 million in 2017, but this had increased to $136 million by 2018.
The first streetcar arrived on February 12, 2018 (and was unloaded onto the rails the following day), and by March 12, three of the seven on order had arrived. Three different color schemes are used, with three cars in a "redbud" color, two in blue and two in green, along with white for a portion of each car. By the end of September 2018, six of the seven cars had been received.
Service commenced on the morning of December 14, 2018, followed by three days of city-funded celebrations. At a reported total installation price of $136 million, the cost was $29.6 million per mile (including purchase of the vehicles).
Service was free until February 1 (extended beyond an original plan for three weeks of free service, through January 4), to promote the new service. Embark began charging fares on February 2, 2019, the base fare being $1, with discounts for senior and disabled riders and with 24-hour and multi-day passes available.
At the time of the line's opening, it was tentatively planned that the line would not have regular Sunday service, and would operate only on Sundays when events were scheduled. However, Sunday service was scheduled for the system's first seven weeks, through late January, and Embark planned to monitor Sunday ridership during that time, to determine whether Sunday service should be made a permanent part of the schedule. In late January, Embark announced that Sunday ridership had been better than expected, and that consequently, Sunday service would resume on February 10 (after a one-weekend suspension) and be made a permanent part of the weekly schedule. Sunday service is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the end of March and then expand to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting April 7.
The streetcar system is one of the conventional type using steel rails embedded into city streets, with modern vehicles powered from overhead electric wires. The streetcars are planned to be in use with everyday traffic. Initially, five vehicles were slated to be ordered. A sixth car was slated to be purchased through MAPS 3 with options for six more vehicles beyond the initial purchase. The streetcar vehicles was required to operate wirelessly for several hundred feet under the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway bridges that separate downtown Oklahoma City central business district from the Bricktown entertainment district.
The city has contracted with Herzog Transit Services to operate the line and provide day-to-day maintenance. The system has two routes, with the 4.8-mile (7.7 km) Downtown Loop covering the full line and the shorter Bricktown Loop covering a 2-mile (3.2 km) portion of the line, in the Bricktown district.
Service is provided seven days a week on the Downtown Loop, while the Bricktown Loop operates only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. (7 a.m. Saturdays) to midnight Monday to Saturday, extended to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Streetcars operate on a headway of 15-18 minutes.
The fare is $1, or $0.50 for seniors at least 65 or disabled or Medicare via Embark ID card, and all riders need a ticket. 30/7/1-day passes are available via ticket vending machines at stops. Children under 7 are free with a fare-paying rider; limit three.
Loop between Bricktown and Midtown
|1||East Bricktown||Joe Carter and Flaming Lips Alley|
|2||Ballpark||Johnny Bench and Mickey Mantle Drives|
|3||Santa Fe Hub||Reno and E.K. Gaylord Boulevard|
|4||Arena||Reno and Robinson|
|5||Scissortail Park||Oklahoma City Boulevard and Robinson|
|6||Myriad Gardens||Hudson and Sheridan|
|7||Library||Hudson and Park|
|8||Transit Center||Hudson and NW 4th|
|9||Federal Courthouse||NW 4th and Robinson|
|10||Broadway Avenue||Broadway and NW 4th|
|11||Automobile Alley||Broadway and NW 8th|
|12||Campbell Art Park||Broadway and NW 11th|
|13||North Hudson||NW 11th and Hudson|
|14||Dewey Avenue||Dewey and NW 10th|
|15||Midtown||NW 10th and Hudson|
|16||NW 10th Street||NW 10th and Robinson|
|17||Law School||Robinson and NW 7th|
|18||Memorial Museum||Robinson and NW 4th|
|19||Business District||Robinson and Park|
|20||Century Center||Sheridan and Robinson|
|21||Bricktown||Sheridan and E.K. Gaylord Boulevard|
|22||Mickey Mantle||Sheridan and Mickey Mantle Drive|
Major expansion of the Oklahoma City Streetcar system beyond the first phase is already being planned. A steering committee made up of local mayors, city councillors, and other civic leaders approved plans for major expansion from the MAPS 3 system northward up the major thoroughfare Classen Boulevard to the planned 63rd Street commuter rail station stop and southward from downtown along Walker Avenue to the Southwest 25th Street (future) commuter-rail stop in Capitol Hill. Additional plans have also been discussed for streetcar expansion to Oklahoma City University through the historic Plaza District northwest of the initial starter line.
The Oklahoma City Streetcar project as part of the MAPS initiative is overseen by a committee appointed by the mayor and city council of Oklahoma City. The original promoter of the streetcar system, Jeff Bezdek, is appointed to committee along with several other volunteers from the original Modern Transit Project initiative. Recommendations from this committee are formally made to the MAPS 3 oversight board which then makes recommendations to the Oklahoma City Council to be potentially enacted as policy.