/ Modified may 15, 2015 4:42 a.m.

Streetcar Ridership Heads Toward Milestone

Ridership number released this week shows 17 percent ahead of projections

Streetcar, Sun Link - Spotlight Stock (PHOTO: Colleen Greer)

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Tucson's streetcar is expecting to hit a milestone of 1 million riders next week.

The city said this week it has counted 979,120 one-way trips on the transit service in the 10 months since it began operating. That beats the estimate Tucson made for streetcar use by about 17 percent.

When the city applied for federal grant funding to cover a portion of the $200 million project, it had to tell the federal government how many people it expected to transport, said Shellie Ginn, the streetcar project manager. A rider counts as one person taking a one-way trip.

City officials estimated each weekday would see 3,600 riders, each weekend day would see 1,500 riders, and each holiday about 1,000 one-way trips would occur, she said.

Based on that estimate the city expected to hit 1 million riders this July 4, Ginn said. If the city met, but did not exceed, those estimates it would be at about 836,000 riders this week.

Because the number of trips is exceeding those expectations, she said the city will see its 1 millionth rider before the end of May.

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