A total of 47,552 people rode that darn streetcar—a.k.a. The Hop—in August 2023. The works out to a daily ridership of about 1,534.

August 2023 ridership was down from July 2023 (65,749) and June 2023 (50,293), but up from August 2022 (40,319). July 2023 ridership was that darn streetcar’s highest ridership since September 2019.

The August ridership was posted by The Hop in recent days. September ridership has yet to be released.

“The Hop streetcars are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) equipment to record actual boarding data,” explains the ridership page for that darn streetcar. “Each door on the vehicle is equipped with three sensors that emit a beam of infrared light. Each time the beam is broken the APC system records it as a passenger. The three sensors are spaced so that the order in which the beams are broken determines if a passenger is boarding or exiting—only the boarding totals are included in the final ridership counts. APC systems are becoming standard equipment in the transit industry.”

Service on that darn streetcar was suspended for just over a week, from August 31 to September 8, when a water main broke along the route in downtown Milwaukee.

Nearly five years into that darn streetcar’s existence (it launched in November 2018), the lil’ 2.1-mile Hop remains controversial. Republicans in the state legislature singled it out in their spring shared revenue deal with the city, and you better believe Facebook commenters who attended college at “The School Of Hard Knocks” have strong opinions, too.

Despite ongoing challenges securing funding for route expansions, a long-planned lakefront line (the “L”) is set to begin service on October 29. The line will approach the lakefront via a loop around Michigan and Clybourn, and will utilize a new stop in the under-construction Couture building.

That darn streetcar remains free to ride.

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About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.