Public service for downtown streetcar The Hop begins

"Grand Hop-ening" kicks off passenger service with free rides for first year

City officials and supporters of the streetcar project during a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Downtown Milwaukee’s streetcar officially began passenger service today.

The highly anticipated launch comes after over a decade of debate and political controversy around how the public transportation system, named The Hop, would be funded, and how often it would be utilized.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a major longtime supporter of the $124 million streetcar project, recently called it “a shot in the arm” for the city, saying it is just one part of a “larger picture” of new development throughout the downtown area.

Barrett commemorated this milestone today at the streetcar’s “Grand Hop-ening” kick-off event at Cathedral Square Park. He was joined by U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Federal Transit Administration officials, Common Council members and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino CEO Rodney Ferguson to watch the streetcar open its doors to the public. 

Rides on The Hop will be free for the first year of operation thanks to a $10 million, 12-year naming sponsorship deal with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Starting today, passengers can wait for the vehicles at one of the 18 stations along the M-Line every 10 to 15 minutes. The L-Line, which will service destinations along the lakefront, is slated to open in 2020.

It will operate Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Grand opening festivities will continue throughout the weekend. See a full list of “Grand Hop-ening” events here.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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