Kansas City’s streetcars will run every 10 minutes in peak weekday hours along the 2-mile downtown route and will operate until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority decided Thursday.
The streetcar route is being built, with construction expected to finish in fall 2015. But the operator will be testing the trains for several months before the public begins to ride them, so the actual start date remains uncertain and could come in early 2016.
The streetcars, which will run seven days a week, will offer the most frequent service of any transit system in the region, including bus systems, said David Johnson, a member of the streetcar authority board.
“We plan to deliver on the promise we made to downtown that we would deliver high-frequency service,” Johnson said Thursday.
The streetcars will run from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Johnson said that Tucson, Ariz., which recently began its streetcar operation, reported very good ridership until 2 a.m. on weekend nights. And late-night service was also requested in surveys conducted among Kansas City downtown patrons.
Johnson said the authority is working with police and other stakeholders to ensure a safe environment for people riding at all hours, including after midnight.
Under the schedule approved Thursday, streetcars will generally run every 12 minutes along the River Market to Union Station route from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., every 10 minutes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and every 12 minutes from 7 p.m. to midnight. Johnson said cities such as Portland, Ore., and Seattle recommended more frequent service over the lunch hour and afternoon, rather than for the morning commute.
The trains are expected to run every 12 minutes all day on Saturday and every 18 minutes on Sunday.
The hours of operation on holidays and for special events are yet to be determined.