Detroit’s QLine to offer free rides until July 1

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The train hasn’t left the station if you were hoping to ride the city’s new QLine street car for free.

Metro Detroiters will be able to ride the QLine for free until July 1, officials for the M-1 Rail said Friday. The M-1 Rail owns and operates the street car system, which features a 6.6-mile loop that runs along Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit through the city’s New Center district.

The announcement comes a week after the M-1 Rail held its official grand opening of the street car system. It initially offered free rides that entire weekend and then extended the promotion until May 21. It’s now being extended for another six weeks.

“Extending our free ride promotion will allow all Detroiters to experience the QLine prior to the start of revenue operations,” Matt Cullen, the M-1 Rail’s CEO, said in a statement Friday. “It will help integrate the streetcar into daily commutes and provide the necessary time for educating the riding public about the system. It’s the right way to build sustainable QLine ridership and support our goal of a true regional transit system.”

Cullen also said the system has experienced high demand since it opened to the public.

In its first week, it had nearly 50,000 riders, averaging 8,300 riders per day over its first weekend and 5,120 riders from Monday to Thursday, M-1 Rail officials said.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the enthusiastic reception the QLine received from riders during our first week,” Cullen said. “We significantly exceeded our initial ridership projections.”

M-1 Rail officials also said it will begin an additional rider and transit education program next week.

“As we refine operations to accommodate demand, it’s also clear a public education campaign to help transit users is needed in SE Michigan,” Sommer Woods, M-1 Rail’s vice president for external affairs, said in a statement. “Over the next six weeks, we will deploy street teams at station stops to assist riders in navigating the system and connecting to the destinations throughout the Woodward Corridor.”