About – The Hop
Milwaukee Streetcar Logo

About

The streetcar has arrived! Milwaukee is now easier to navigate, neighborhoods are more connected, and your destination is just a quick hop away!

The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, is a new, modern fixed-transit network that further enhances Milwaukee’s cool factor and its world-class corporations, cultural attractions, educational institutions and architecture. The system will help attract and retain investment, business and talent, creating jobs, improving quality of life and increasing vitality. Hop on!

Streetcar Circle image of car

Economic Development

Streetcars do more than simply improve mobility and connections.  Among the primary benefits of a fixed-rail transit system, such as The Hop, are the numerous potential economic development opportunities it provides and supports.

To help support and promote development along and near the streetcar corridor in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, Milwaukee Downtown (Business Improvement District #21) has published a “MKE Streetcar Development and Investment Guide.”  This interactive online tool highlights the many development, redevelopment and commercial lease opportunities that exist along or within walking distance to the M-Line and L-Line routes.

Download the guide
FAQ icon

Frequently asked questions

General

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What is a streetcar?

Streetcars are passenger vehicles that operate on fixed-rail guideways on public streets. The vehicles can operate in shared traffic allowing for the preservation of the majority of on-street parking.

How many streetcars are there?

The Hop’s fleet is currently comprised of five vehicles, which are rotated in and out of service to allow for regular maintenance. There are typically three vehicles in service during peak hours and two during off-peak times.

How big is a Hop streetcar?

Milwaukee’s streetcars are approximately 67 feet long and just under 9 feet wide, making them roughly double the size and capacity of a typical bus.

What is the capacity of the streetcar?

Our streetcars can accommodate around 150 people both sitting and standing.

How fast will The Hop travel?

The streetcar travels in the same lanes as vehicle traffic and obeys the same traffic laws as cars do – including posted speed limits.

Does the streetcar obey traffic signals along the route?

For the most part, the streetcar obeys all of the same rules of the road. At certain intersections along the route there are special traffic signals that allow the streetcar to safely make a turn while all other traffic is stopped.

How is ridership counted?

The Hop streetcars are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) equipment to record actual boarding data. Each door on the vehicle is equipped with three sensors that emit a beam of infrared light. Each time the beam is broken the APC system records it as a passenger. The three sensors are spaced so that the order in which the beams are broken determines if a passenger is boarding or exiting. Only the boarding totals are included in the final ridership counts.

Is there Hop merchandise available for purchase?

While we don’t have an official line of merchandise, we often have T-shirts available for sale. For more information, e-mail info@thehopmke.com.

Riding The Hop

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What are The Hop’s operating hours?

The Hop operates from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The complete schedule is available here.

How much does it cost to ride the streetcar?

The Hop is completely free! No tickets or vouchers are needed. Simply find your nearest station, wait for the next streetcar to arrive, and hop on board.

Can I take my dog on board?

The Hop Code of Conduct only allows for service animals trained to perform a specific function as defined by the ADA. We also allow other small pets that can be contained in a cage or crate that fits in your lap. Any other pets should be left at home.

Can I bring my bicycle on the streetcar?

Yes – the streetcar features level boarding, so bikes can be rolled right inside. Inside each boarding door there are hooks where bikes can be hung during the trip.

Is the streetcar ADA accessible?

Yes, The Hop is fully ADA compliant, featuring level boarding and audio and visual cues to assist those with disabilities. Learn more here.

How do I know what stop I am at?

Prior to each stop, there is an on-board audio announcement, and each streetcar is also equipped with four display monitors that show upcoming stops.

Does the The Hop have Wi-Fi access on board or at the station?

Not at this time.

How long does it take to ride the entire route?

A round trip on The Hop takes approximately 40 minutes.

Can I ride The Hop continuously?

The Hop Code of Conduct asks passengers to limit their travel to one round trip of the route.

Is there security on the The Hop?

The streetcars are equipped with multiple cameras both inside and out to allow the streetcar operator to monitor activity on and around the vehicle. While there is not additional security staff on board, the operators are trained to respond to any situations that arise and have direct access to MPD and MFD if needed.

How do I transfer between The Hop and MCTS?

As The Hop is currently free, transferring to or from a bus is as simple as getting on or off the streetcar. Should a fare be introduced at some point in the future, we anticipate working with MCTS to streamline transfers between the two systems.

The Route

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Where does The Hop go?

The Hop’s route travels 2.1 miles through some of Milwaukee’s busiest neighborhoods, including the Historic Third Ward, East Town and the Lower East Side. Click here to see the complete route.

Can I park on the streetcar route?

Many stretches of the route include street parking, which is separated from the streetcar route by a solid painted line. When parking along the route, make sure your entire vehicle, including side mirrors, is inside the painted line. To learn more about parking along the route, click here.

What parking options are available along the route, and how much does parking cost?

There are numerous parking options along the route, including free street parking, metered street parking and paid surface lots and ramps depending on the area. Our friends at Milwaukee Downtown BID 21 have compiled an excellent resource for downtown parking (select The Hop under transportation to see options near the route).

Are there plans to expand the The Hop’s route?

Yes, the vision for the streetcar has always been to expand beyond downtown and into the City’s neighborhoods. You can learn more about our expansion efforts here.

HOP VEHICLES

Milwaukee has five state-of-the-art vehicles, built by U.S. streetcar manufacturer Brookville Equipment Corp.

Hop Vehicle rendering

The 67-foot-long streetcars feature:

Three-piece, articulated cars.

Capacity of 150 passengers, seated and standing.

32 seats: 14 on each end of the vehicle plus 4 flip-down seats in the center.

Two doors per side for fast boarding.

Low-floor design compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Roll-on/roll-off access for wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.

Electric power operations, including an overhead catenary system.

Clean and quiet ride.

Mixed traffic operations, preserving majority of on-street parking.

Double-ended, meaning it can be operated from either end. The driver walks to the other end of the vehicle to drive in the other direction.

The streetcars' sub-floors were manufactured and donated by local firm Milwaukee Composites, Inc., a producer of lightweight floor for the international transit industry.

Ridership

2018 2019 2020
January 48,354 (1,560/day) 50,444 (1,627/day)
February 45,000 (1,607/day)* 48,028 (1,656/day)#
March 50,000 (1,613/day)* 27,447 (885/day)
April 55,657 (1,855/day) 7,285 (243/day)
May 62,937 (2,030/day) 9,762 (315/day)
June 71,367 (2,379/day) 14,947 (498/day)
July 103,625 (3,343/day)
August 80,113 (2,584 per day)
September 66,986 (2,233 per day)
October 62,010 (2,000/day)
November 80,361 (2,459/day^) 52,998 (1,767/day)
December 76,131 (2,456/day) 61,274 (1,977/day)

# Monthly ridership for February, 2020 is prorated based on data from Feb. 1-14 due to a wayside server malfunction.
* Ridership data for February and March, 2019, is estimated due to a malfunction of the APC system.
^ Daily ridership for November, 2018 does not include the 16,413 passengers during the grand opening weekend.


The Hop streetcars are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) equipment to record actual boarding data. Each door on the vehicle is equipped with three sensors that emit a beam of infrared light. Each time the beam is broken the APC system records it as a passenger. The three sensors are spaced so that the order in which the beams are broken determines if a passenger is boarding or exiting - only the boarding totals are included in the final ridership counts. APC systems are becoming standard equipment in the transit industry.

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