After 59 years, streetcars have come back to Kansas City. Here’s what you’ll need to know when you’re downtown, from navigating around them to catching a ride.
It will take an average of 13.5 minutes to travel from the north end in River Market to the south end by Union Station, with the streetcar traveling up to 35 mph. The streetcar may not stop at each destination. It will drop off passengers if signaled by the stop button and pass up locations if there isn’t anyone to pick up. There are 16 stops two to three blocks apart. Thirteen of the stops include a shelter and a digital sign. Round-trip should be about 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
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Streetcar route and stops
The route is 2.2 miles long starting from Third Street and Grand Boulevard near City Market to Pershing Road and Main Street at Union Station. Streetcars are housed in the Singleton Yard Facility east of the River Market in the Columbus Park neighborhood.
Sharing the road
Driving beside the streetcar will take some patience; just treat it like an oversized bus. The streetcar will follow the same traffic laws as everyone else, but expect short delays when it stops for passengers. Weighing around 78,000 pounds, it’s not as quick and nimble as a smaller vehicle. It will take some time to stop and accelerate.
Outside the streetcar
The four streetcars are numbered 801 through 804, continuing the numbering tradition from 59 years ago. The Kansas City Public Service, which managed the transit system then, had about 150 cars in total, numbering them from 501-585, 701-724 and 725-799.
All four cars have three sections and four sets of doors, one on each end and two in the middle. They’re powered by overhead wires that carry 750 volts, which are supplied by four substations along the route. The streetcar service will run year-round through all weather conditions.
Inside the streetcar
Each streetcar can carry up to 150 people sitting and standing, with a total of 34 seats. They soon will have free Wi-Fi access and have a voice-activated system and display to tell riders about upcoming stops. The middle cabin can hold bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs when a section of the seats is folded up. There are 16 cameras inside and outside; footage can be seen by the driver and transmitted to the main operations center for security. Service animals and animals in carriers are allowed inside cars.
Time to recharge
At the end of the day, the streetcars head back to the Singleton Yard Streetcar Vehicle Maintenance Facility east of the River Market in the Columbus Park neighborhood. They will receive routine checkups and cleanup: There is a main area of the garage where the mechanical work is done and another to wash down the vehicles.
Hours of operation
6 a.m.–2 a.m.
7 a.m.–2 a.m.
7 a.m.–10 p.m.