EMBARK celebrates streetcar success, and looks toward future

September 16, 2022

The OKC Streetcar reached its 1 million rider milestone on Saturday, Sept. 10, since service began in December 2018, according to EMBARK officials. The OKC Streetcar was one of the 2009 voter-approved MAPS 3 transit projects.  

“I commend everyone at OKC Streetcar for working together to get through a two-year period that was very challenging across the country for public transit, downtowns and tourism,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.“As we transition into some normality, the Streetcar continues to emerge as a valuable resource for visitors, who are themselves an ever more important part of our local economy.   

A project of the city's MAPS 3 program, the OKC Streetcar aims to strengthen community connections, support economic growth and enhance mobility for residents and visitors in OKC's core. OKC Streetcar construction was completed in October 2018, and the service officially launched on December 14, 2018, with fare collection beginning in February 2019. The streetcar includes two route options: the 4.8-mile Downtown Loop and the 2-mile Bricktown Loop, and serves five Downtown OKC districts, including Automobile Alley, Bricktown, City Center, Arts District, and Midtown. 

The OKC Streetcar is the region's first local passenger rail in nearly a century. Now the Regional Transportation Authority of Central Oklahoma is conducting federal studies to bring regional commuter rail service to Edmond, Oklahoma City, Norman, and Tinker Air Force base.  

Holt adds, “As we begin to welcome more aspects of a comprehensive transit system, including the RAPIDBus Rapid Transit line and the potential for commuter rail through RTA, we will begin to fully realize the important role that the Streetcar plays as a circulator for residents arriving downtown without a car.In the meantime, the Streecar has already spurred major economic development downtown, and in moving more an a million passengers, it has obviously already established itself as a desirable amenity.”   

The first MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) began on December 14, 1993, when voters approved the first sales tax. MAPS for Kids was established in 2001 when voters approved a second MAPS tax, raising $700 million and benefitting public schools located in Oklahoma City.   

Voters approved MAPS 3 on December 8, 2009. The sales tax ran from April 2010 through December 2017. MAPS 4 was approved in 2019 and will raise a projected $1.1 billion over eight years.MAPS 4 will continue the transformation of Oklahoma City's public transit system with $97 million dedicated to dramatic new improvements, including two Bus Rapid Transit lines and more than 500 bus shelters. 

"Continuing to build transportation that is accessible to all means greater opportunity for our future generations," said Assistant City Manager and EMBARK Administrator Jason Ferbrache. "Today, the streetcar is a critical strategic element of our region's transportation future - connecting with as many as three RAPID transit lines, dozens of bus routes, bike share, and the RTA's visionary commuter rail network." 

About EMBARK 

EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City.  

EMBARK's vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK's mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination. 

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