It’s that time of the month, Milwaukee: the time when ridership numbers for the city’s forever-controversial streetcar system, The Hop, are released, analyzed, and argued about. And you better buckle up for this one (again): following an August that saw a PALTRY 80,113 total rides and an average of 2,584 rides per day, September saw ONLY 66,986 total rides and an average of 2,233 rides per day. It’s like (cool) weather and the (end of the) city’s festival season might have something to do with it. WEIRD. WE’RE SURE ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ANTICIPATED THIS AND THAT THEY EXPECTED MONTHLY RIDERSHIP NUMBERS TO BE THE SAME ALL YEAR LONG.

What’s that? September was still the fourth-best month of The Hop’s 2019? Five-thousand people rode the thing on September 28 alone? (Thanks to Doors Open Milwaukee, no doubt.) And pre-launch, The Hop projected an average daily ridership of just 1,850? Oh.

Here’s where we stand so far:

NOVEMBER 2018
Total rides: 80,361
Average daily ridership: (excluding opening weekend): 2,459

DECEMBER 2018
Total rides: 76,131
Average daily ridership: 2,456

JANUARY 2019
Total rides: 48,354
Average daily ridership: 1,560

FEBRUARY 2019 (estimated, due to missing data)
Total rides: 45,000
Average daily ridership: 1,607

MARCH 2019 (estimated, due to missing data)
Total rides: 50,000
Average daily ridership: 1,613

APRIL 2019
Total rides: 55,657
Average daily ridership: 1,855

MAY 2019
Total rides: 62,937
Average daily ridership: 2,030

JUNE 2019
Total rides: 71,367
Average daily ridership: 2,379

JULY 2019
Total rides: 103,625
Average daily ridership: 3,343

AUGUST 2019
Total rides: 80,113
Average daily ridership: 2,584

SEPTEMBER 2019
Total rides: 66,986
Average daily ridership: 2,233

For everyone asking, here’s how The Hop counts its riders:

The Hop streetcars are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) equipment to record actual boarding data. 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.

And just to make things crystal clear, we like The Hop and hope it succeeds! If someone could finally figure out how to expand the thing, that would be great.

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