DC Streetcar Hasn’t Carried A Single Passenger, But It’s Collected $100,000 In Parking Fines

By Published on July 16, 2015

The expensive new D.C. streetcar, which has been coming soon since 2011, has yet to carry a single passenger. But it has already collected more than $100,000 in fines from cars blocking its path.

The city started issuing $100 tickets to cars blocking the streetcar’s tracks exactly one year ago when it began doing test runs, and since then has issued $106,400 worth of tickets, dcist. com reports.

The streetcar project is in its tenth year of development and has cost city residents more than $190 million, but is unlikely to start carrying passengers any time soon.

In March, Leif Dormsjo, director of the district’s Department of Transportation, told the D.C. Council he wasn’t even entirely sure if the project would ever come to fruition.

“Right now it’s premature to determine from my perspective what the line can do from a passenger perspective,” Dormsjo told council members. “I wanted to make sure everyone is aware that we’re going to determine the future of streetcars based on the facts.”

District officials have been promising the streetcar would open to passengers since 2011, but have steadily pushed back that starting date. They pushed it back so many times, in fact, that in January they just stopped making predictions about when it would open.

Since its inception, the D.C. Streetcar project has been marred by safety issues ranging from crosswalks without pedestrian signals, which could potentially lead to a streetcar running a person over, to one streetcar that actually caught on fire.

Last week, the American Public Transportation Association released a report detailing more than 30 issues that would need to be fixed before the streetcar could begin carrying passengers.

Among the problems detailed in the independent report are these no-brainers: “Repair rail breaks,” “Ensure that all on-board streetcar radios are working” and “Complete a safety assessment.”

APTA investigators identified breaks in the streetcar rail line more than three months before the report was released that had still not been fixed. The investigators also found during a field test that the onboard radio system in at least one rail car was not in working condition.

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