KC Streetcar Authority adding two more streetcars to its fleet to handle growing demand

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Streetcar Authority is adding two more streetcars to its fleet.

Every day, thousands of people hop on one of the four existing streetcars that run the 2-mile route from Union Station to the River Market.

“When we first started the Kansas City Streetcar route in 2016, we thought the average daily ridership would be around 2,700,” said Donna Mandelbaum, the communications director for KC Streetcar Authority. “We actually see an average daily ridership of 5,700 and in the summer, it goes up to 7,000.”

Streetcars “805” and “806” are currently being assembled at a plant to help keep up with the growing demand.

“About six months into our service we said, ‘Wow this is really working,’” Mandelbaum said. “So, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority put a plan into place to order two more streetcars. It takes about two years to build these vehicles.”

Each of the vehicles cost $5 million and can hold up to 200 passengers like the current fleet.

“We’re using existing funds that we have saved in our reserves through the Transportation Development District, so we’re not needing anymore additional money,” Mandelbaum said.

She said the new additions will bring the total number of streetcars in operation to six; four will run regularly -- as opposed to the current three -- helping to reduce wait times. The other two would be used during busy occasions.

Mike Hurd, the marketing director for the Downtown Council of Kansas City, is excited for the extra streetcars because he thinks it will help during concerts, sporting events and conventions that come to town.

“We have so many times of the year that we have big events going and the current rotation of streetcars really is not enough to handle the demand. So being able to add streetcars and still being able to keep the service free is just fantastic,” Hurd said.

The new streetcars are expected to hit the streets before the end of 2019. Once they arrive, it will take at least a month of testing before they are put into service.

Mandelbaum estimates 5.7 million people have used the streetcar service since it launched in 2016. She said the streetcars currently in operation each have logged 90,000 miles.

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