News & Politics

DC Was Hoping to Launch the Streetcar in November. It’s December.

Officials say they're aiming to launch by the end of the year, which is coming up fast.

Photograph by Flickr user DearEdward.

Back in July, officials with the District Department of Transportation started saying that under the best conditions, passenger service on the streetcar running along H Street and Benning Road, Northeast, would begin in November.

As anyone who has seen either a calendar or one of the streetcars in one of its seemingly endless test runs can confirm, that goal did not pan out.

The cars have been rolling up and down the 2.5-mile track since September in “simulated service,” one of the final stages before the line can be opened to the public. But three of the cars still need comprehensive brake testing, while the entire system, which is operated by an independent contractor, is being held back by consistently shoddy record-keeping, according to WAMU.

While city officials proposed the streetcar’s operating hours in August, they still have not set fares. Meanwhile, the official line on an actual start date is now just by the end of the year. But with some trolleys still in need of mechanical fixes and the streetcar line waiting on final approval from District and federal government regulators, finshing in the next 30 days will be a difficult order to fulfill.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.