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The QLINE: Everything you need to know to ride Detroit’s new streetcar

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Hold on!

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Update: We had quite a few questions come in since last Friday. We’ve updated with info on accessibility, transferring, parking, opening weekend, and more.

We took a test ride up and down Woodward on the QLINE a week before it’s set to start regular operations for the public. Here’s a quick guide for opening weekend and beyond. Is there anything else you’d like to know? Send us a note or leave a comment below.

  • First, a heads up. They warned us to hold on to the seat or one of the handles during the stops and starts. We agree. It can be quite jolting. You’ll hear a little ding, then it starts rolling. Just hold on.
  • The streetcars also have bike racks for cyclists.
  • No food or drinks allowed in the streetcar.
  • Streetcars will have RocketFiber wi-fi.
  • Rules will be posted inside.
  • It takes about 20-25 minutes to get from Grand Boulevard to Congress Street right now.

Opening Weekend

The QLINE will celebrate its grand opening Friday, May 12. A press conference is set for 9 a.m., and passenger service starts after (likely around 10:30 a.m.). It will be free to ride the QLINE May 12-14. Many businesses along Woodward and beyond will be having specials throughout the weekend..

Cost

The QLINE will have a few different pricing options.

  • $1.50— Walk-up rate. It’s good for three hours. Riders can get on and off the QLINE as many times as they want in that three-hour period.
  • $0.75 — Senior rate
  • $3.00 — Day rate
  • $30 — Monthly pass
  • $285 — Yearly pass
  • Like DDOT, kids 44" and under ride free with an adult

Like Amtrak, the QLINE is running on a "Trust but verify" method, so someone may come around to check your payment.

Looking to transfer between DDOT, SMART, or the People Mover? While it’s not entirely seamless yet, there’s a transfer pilot program between DDOT and SMART. Transfers are $0.25 and they’re good for three hours.

Forms of Payment

Riders will have a few different ways to pay for their QLINE pass.

  • An app will be able to take payments. The app will also alert the rider to when the next streetcar is arriving.
  • The stations have machines that will take credit/debit card payments.
  • The streetcar itself has a machine that takes cash for payment.
  • At the Penske Tech Center, riders can purchase via money order or check.
  • The website that will be released will also have payment options.
Pay for your pass by cash on the streetcar

Hours of Operation

  • Monday through Thursday: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday: 6 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
  • Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At first, the QLINE will stop at every station. As they see how service ebbs and flows, riders will be able to signal them to stop at the next station from their seat.

Safety

The streetcars will have cameras connected to a central security system. The stations will also have cameras, along with an emergency call box.

Accessibility

The middle section of the streetcar allows room for wheelchairs. All streetcars are ADA accessible. The station platforms are high, along with low floors in the streetcar for easier access for wheelchairs.

The stations and streetcars use audio and visual cues for its passengers.

Stations

The QLINE stations will have two screens. One will have sponsored programming (with no sound) in partnership with Detroit Public TV. The other screen has a map and will let riders know when the next streetcar is arriving.

They’ll also connect the tracker to DDOT and SMART buses in the vicinity, so riders are able to connect to other modes of public transit.

Parking

Say you want to go downtown but don’t want to park downtown. There are quite a few parking garages located near the Grand Station (near the Fisher Building) and Warren (near Wayne State). There’s also metered parking on side streets. The QLINE has suggestions to help guide the way.

Whatever you do, DO NOT PARK ON THE TRACKS!

Looking for some fun places to see around each stop? We have a map for that!

Is there any other info you’d like to know? Leave a comment or send us an email. We’ll update with more details as we know them.

Here are a few more photos from inside the streetcar, including some of the landmarks along the way.

The middle section has room for wheelchair accessibility and riders who choose to stand.
Cars can drive in the same lane, but they cannot park on the rail line.
The Whitney
The MOCAD
Coming around Campus Martius
There’s a special wrap on some of the streetcars, but the QLINE won’t sell advertising on the exterior.
Michelle & Chris Gerard
Enjoy the ride!