When we last argued about the streetcar’s ridership numbers, The Hop had delivered 31,246 rides in September 2023, and 41,176 rides in October 2023. As always, this made people extremely angry. “HOW MUCH MONEY DID IT MAKE ON FARES?” bellowed the “School of Hard Knocks” crowd on Facebook. “TALK TO ME WHEN IT’S NOT FREE TO RIDE!” chortled the folks who only come out of the woodwork for streetcar and occasionally fish fry articles. Also: boondoggle, Killwaukee, liberal mayors, etc.

Now, finally, Milwaukee’s lil’ downtown streetcar system has reported its November 2023 and December 2023 numbers. Are you ready? Good! In November 2023, The Hop recorded 39,232 rides; in December 2023, 39,856 rides.

Please argue.

The numbers may be a bit down from October 2023, but they represent a positive overall trend. Since 2021, ridership numbers have steadily increased in comparative months. In July 2021, for example, The Hop recorded 28,576 rides; in July 2022, 48,433 rides; in July 2023, 65,749 rides. The only exception was September 2023 (31,246 rides, the lowest September since 2020), when service was suspended for a week due to a water main breaking along the route.

So here’s what we have for 2023:

January: 32,481
February: 31,188
March: 36,307
April: 37,738
May: 41,627
June: 50,293
July: 65,749
August: 47,552
September: 31,246
October: 41,176
November: 39,232
December: 39,856

That’s 494,445 rides in 2023. (Ridership numbers dating back to the streetcar’s debut in November 2018 can be found HERE.) Please continue arguing.

Despite ongoing challenges securing funding for route expansions, a long-planned lakefront line (the “L”) opened to limited, Sunday-only service in October. The line approaches the lakefront via a loop around Michigan and Clybourn, and utilizes a new stop in the under-construction Couture building. Full service, reports Urban Milwaukee, is expected in April, “when the lower half of the 44-story The Couture tower is completed and open to its first residents.”


The Hop remains free to ride.

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Here are some recent streetcar ridership numbers to argue about

47,552 people rode that darn streetcar in August 2023

A lot of people rode that darn streetcar during the big Harley/Bastille weekend

The streetcar’s “Grand Hop-ening”: A minute-by-minute report