QLine – Detroit’s Newest Additon to its Public Transportation System

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Detroit just added a streetcar system to its public transportation system. It opened last week on Friday, May 12, 2017. The QLine original name was M-1Rail for running along M-1 aka Woodward Avenue. Quicken Loans bought the naming rights and announced the name in March 2016 and ever since the streetcar line is known as QLine.

I rode the QLine one weekend after its official opening about half-way from Grand Blvd Station to Downtown. Grand Blvd Station is the northernmost station of the QLine so far. The platform got more and more crowded over time but we were able to fit all in the arriving and empty train.

The ride was pretty pleasant but I missed audio-visual announcements about the next station. I just counted how many stops I have to make until I would reach my stop according to the map above the entrance doors. According to a friend they did do audio announcements but not on the two rides I took. Maybe just a glitch.

Inside the QLine

Until June 30, 2017, you can ride the QLine for free. On July 1st, 2017 revenue operation of the QLine will begin. The fares are $1,50 for 3 hours and $3 for an all-day ticket. Ticket Kiosks are available at every station. Visit the QLine website for more up to date information.

Grand Circus Park is the closest station intersecting with the Detroit People Mover (read my review here). It’s a short walk from the QLine to the People Mover station. See the full map here.

QLine approaching Warren Ave Station
Push the button to turn on the heat.

Some issues I see with the QLine

  • No station announcements (maybe just a glitch)
  • The streetcar is moving regular¬†lanes along Woodward St. This will probably affect the timetable of the QLine as it has to stop on red lights, parked cars and is prone to regular street traffic.
  • The QLine is not active on Google Maps yet to be more effective in helping people finding a way to get where they have to go.
  • There is an iOS and Android app but they won’t work without creating an account first. Even tho you only want to check schedule and view the network map you have to sign up for an account first. The advantage of signing up is that you can buy tickets right in the app.
  • The stations should have a roof over the full length. This will be for sure an advantage on rainy, snowy, and cold days.

The network needs to be further extended to reach more people. Hopefully, the expansion comes with a great acceptance of the QLine by the people living and working in the city as well as visitors.

Did you ride the QLine yet? What is your experience? Does anyone has experience during rush hour and riding the QLine?


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