Cincinnati Connector streetcar. Photo by John Alexander Reese


Ridership on the Connector notched an all-time annual record of 846,622 passengers in 2022. That tally significantly outpaced the previous annual record of 571,601 passengers recorded in 2017, the streetcar’s first full calendar year of operation.

“This new annual record is a gratifying accomplishment,” said Lori Burchett, deputy director of streetcar services for the City of Cincinnati Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE). “It is consistent with the monthly records we hit throughout 2022.”

The streetcar hit a ridership record every month in 2022 except in June, which totaled 49,627 passengers. The temporary drop was due to the partial collapse of a building adjacent to the station stop at 12th and Main which necessitated suspension of streetcar service in the Central Business District between June 12 and July 1.

The streetcar’s upward ridership trend started in November 2021. By comparison, the streetcar’s previous best months occurred mostly during its first full year of passenger service starting in September 2016.

Please see the chart below for more details.

Burchett credits the increased ridership in 2022 with streetcar crews and city departments doing an effective job maintaining daily operations, passenger safety and reliable customer service, as well as the easing of pandemic restrictions and the streetcar being free to ride.

The streetcar, which travels 3.6 miles between OTR and The Banks via the Central Business District, is especially popular during big events such as BLINK, Taste of Cincinnati and Oktoberfest because it is a convenient way to travel from one end of the city’s urban core to the other, Burchett explained. BLINK took place in October, the best single month for ridership in 2022 at 103,700.

The city took over day-to-day management of the streetcar in January 2020 from SORTA and it has been fare-free since September 2020, when it returned to service after a five-month hiatus due to Covid pandemic restrictions.

Monthly Streetcar Ridership Records

New RecordPassenger CountPrevious RecordPassenger Count
December 202269,303December 202155,105
November 202264,675November 202152,440
October 2022103,700October 201682, 934
September 202288,992September 201675,485
August 202283,078August 201956,402
July 202289,074July 201761,404
May 2022*81,175 (Previous: 81,724)May 201753,116
April 2022*65,352 (Previous: 66,391)April 201749,966
March 2022*58,874 (Previous: 58,882)March 201737,471
February 202249,641February 201736,681
January 202243,131January 201735,334
December 202155,105December 201652,209
November 202152,440November 201649,920

* Denotes audited results versus previously reported passenger counts.

Please note: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires the city to track, audit and submit ridership to its National Transit Database (NTD). The city, which uses one of the most conservative methods for reporting streetcar ridership, derives its figures for passenger boardings from infrared sensors known collectively as the Automatic Passenger Counting system (APC). An APC sensor is mounted above every door on all five streetcars.

The city also audits its APC figures to certify to the FTA that the system is accurate. The city does so by periodically conducting manual passenger counts and comparing those samples to the corresponding APC figures.

Among the metrics measured for ridership, the sensors count each passenger as a single boarding except when unable to distinguish between one or multiple passengers. In those cases, a given passenger boarding is discounted to zero, which results in lower-than-actual passenger counts.

Read more about the streetcar at

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