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Official: Streetcar Coming In April, With 3 Months Of Free Rides

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The Atlanta Streetcar loop is slated to begin service in about six months — and for the first three months of operation, all rides will be free. How about them apples? Those updates come via Atlanta's deputy commissioner of public works and the streetcar project's executive director, Tim Borchers, who hosted a meeting last week to keep downtown neighbors up to speed, according to the ATL Urbanist blog. Borchers said construction is on time (following earlier delays) and $2 million under budget. The 2.7-mile line, leaders hope, will be the initial seed of a more extensive transit network. It's expected to begin toting passengers on an east-west loop between Centennial Olympic Park and the King Historic District by the end of April. The route will have 12 stops, with an estimated 15 minutes between trains.

After the free-ride period, ATL Urbanist notes, rides will cost just $1 for a while, until MARTA upgrades its Breeze Card system to accommodate the light-rail route. Transfers from MARTA will be free. Bochers also noted that traffic lights along the route will be adjusted, in hopes of keeping the streetcar from being mired in congestion with the thousands of vehicles it will share lanes with.

Borchers, an Australian import with three decades of transit experience, took the streetcar helm in April, and he's bullish on the project's transformative potential. To prove it, he resides downtown and has suffered through streetcar construction like common folk. When he was installed, Borchers made the following — and dare we say inspiring — comment in an interview with WABE: "It's been happening all over the world. Streetcar systems are being used to rebuild decaying urban cores, give a financial boost to cities, relieve traffic, help the environment, and also, of course, provide public transportation."

· Atlanta Streetcar update [ATL Urbanist]
· New Head of Atlanta Streetcar Sees Project as Transformative [WABE]