JMatt next to The Hop

Free Rides For a Year on The Hop!

Milwaukee's new street car is officially open!

November 13, 2018

The process of Milwaukee gaining a streetcar system has been years in the making and on Friday, November 2, The Hop was officially opened to the public! Thanks to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, the initial 12-months of service will be free for riders; after a year, the expected fare is $1.00/ride.

On Sunday, November 11, I had a chance to ride The Hop after brunch. I had no real need to ride, other than to experience it for myself. We started from the Historic Third Ward Eastbound stop on a day where the temperature was a cold 35 degrees and we must have gotten there just after one passed through. According to the sign at our stop, each streetcar was projected to arrive 20 minutes apart between the hours of 7am to 10pm (specifically on Sundays).

The Hop M Line

After waiting about 15 minutes in the cold, The Hop arrived and it was pretty packed. A lot of people enjoying their Sunday Funday with a destination in mind or like us, just along for the ride. While we weren't looking for a seat, the heat on the streetcar was a welcome comfort!

Our loose destination was Cathedral Square and before we even realized, we were coming up to our stop! Seriously, it felt like we just boarded a minute ago and we were already there. Which got me thinking about how long it would take to ride from the Intermodal Station all the way to the last stop at Burns Commons.

We jumped over to the Cathedral Square Westbound streetcar and headed back. Noticing the similarities to riding the bus, where an automated voice reminded us to push the stop button to make sure we let the driver know we wanted to get off at the next stop. It felt like each stop was timed well with the traffic lights and we didn't spend much time at a standstill.

The Hop Streetcar

Though The Hop has only been in service for about a week and a half, Milwaukee vlogger, Martin Moore, has already become a frequent rider and has figured out when the route is most active, "The Hop is busiest on the weekdays from 7:15-8:15am, again around 11am, and then between 3-5pm." The work commute and lunch break has Milwaukee finding the most convenience in this new mode of transportation!

Overall, I would say I'm a fan of The Hop and can see myself riding this more and more, especially while it's free within its first year. While I appreciate that the schedule runs until midnight Monday-Saturday, I hope that in the future they consider opening it up until bar time or even a little later to help prevent drunk driving in our city.

The Hop looks to be a great service to add value within the downtown area of Milwaukee and if you're still confused on how to drive next to the streetcar (or bike alongside it), they have created helpful tutorial videos in both English and Spanish to answer your potential questions!

Have you had a chance to ride The Hop yet? Hit me up on social media with your thoughts on the new streetcar at @JMattMke (same handle on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Snapchat)!