QLine to reopen in late September, run for free until 2022

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

Detroit — Passengers will once again be able to board the QLine beginning the week of Sept. 27 for the first time since services ground to a halt when the COVID pandemic hit, line operator M-1 Rail announced on Wednesday. 

Streetcar service will operate free for passengers through the end of the year, according to the press release, to "help support local business along the Woodward Corridor." 

The QLine will run every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends. 

The QLIne one of very few vehicles at this moment on Woodward Avenue at approximately 5:25 pm in Detroit on Mar. 19, 2020.

The 6.6 mile streetcar route opened to the public in May 2017 and serves 12 locations on Woodward Avenue from Downtown through Midtown, New Center and the North End. Before pausing services in March 2020, it transported around 3.3 million riders according to M-1 Rail. 

A late-summer reopening was reported in February, when CEO Matt Cullen said factors they would consider included major employers announcing a return to offices along the route, retail and restaurants reopening without restriction and the return of sporting and live performance events.

"As activity along the Corridor returns to near-pandemic levels we are confident the demand for transit and the QLine will increase in corresponding numbers," Cullen said. 

M-1 Rail was awarded $1.3 million in CARES Act funding and expects to receive up to $15 million in funding over the next three years due to legislation passed in September that would result in a portion of surplus received from hotel and liquor taxes through the state convention facility development fund.