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There Will Be Extra Streetcars For Oktoberfest

The Cincinnati Bell "Connector."  The company paid $340,000 per year for 10 years for naming rights.
Jay Hanselman
The Cincinnati Bell "Connector." The company paid $340,000 per year for 10 years for naming rights.
Credit Jay Hanselman / WVXU

Extra streetcars will be running this weekend as lots of people are expected Downtown for Oktoberfest and several Reds games.The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) had planned to only operate two cars late Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday unless the city came up with $20,000 to pay for additional service.

The city and the transit agency announced a deal Wednesday solving the problem.


City manager Harry Black told council where the funds will come from.


"So between available private dollars, enhanced revenue, there may or may not be a shortfall," Black said. "But if there's a shortfall, we have a donor who's already lined up and has committed to filling any gap that might exist."


Mayor John Cranley still said the city's agreement with SORTA to operate the streetcar system is clear on the issue.


"The 15 minutes is to apply at all times that are spelled out in the operating agreement hours that have been specified," Cranley said. "I've heard a lot of people say loosely that they're entitled to additional money for special events. That's just not the case. If we decided we wanted to provide ten or five minute service during special events, we could do so."


During non-peak hours, the streetcar is to make stops at streetcar stations every 15 minutes. During peak hours Monday thru Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. it is every 12 minutes.


SORTA said the operating plan calls for two vehicles on weekends, and anything beyond that is a special event which requires more money from the city.


Everyone agrees the two sides will have to continue discussions after this weekend to reach an agreement. If that does not happen, the issue could wind up in court.

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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.