When it comes to practicality, the QLINE streetcar has been a disappointment.
Our team is pretty bike- and walk- friendly, and will take the bus if the timing makes sense.
We have contributors who live near the QLINE and the MoGo stations, and others who live near bus lines and use them (in the suburbs, too).
When both opened earlier this year, we had multiple debates over which service was going to come out on top. It was evenly split between bike share lovers and believers in the power of the streetcar.
It isn’t even close.
It turns out the MoGo is, from a practical perspective, what someone around here ends up using almost every time, almost every day.
At first the MoGo might seem steep at $8 a day. But here’s the pro tip. If you use it more than one day in a 30-day period, grab that monthly pass for $18 that gives you unlimited rides. That changes your whole relationship with the service, even if you drive downtown for work. You won’t need to wait for the card to come in the mail, either. Just use the Transit app and sign in.
How does it change things? Well, that meeting in Grand Circus Park? Grab a MoGo and be there in a minute or two. Dinner in Greektown? Easy. Heading to food trucks at Spirit of Detroit Park from Bottom Line Coffeeshop? A cinch. Business drinks in Corktown? Yep.
The QLINE? People from out of town always want to use it because everyone wants to see it. But if you need to get to work and do things? Let’s be real. Even if you live right on the line, in the morning one, maybe two 53 Woodward DDOT buses are going to pass in the time one QLINE comes through.
Or, just bike it.
In nice weather on a personal bike or hopping on the MoGo, if there’s any traffic, you’re going to beat the QLINE hands down and get a little exercise.
Not to mention, when hopping around greater downtown for press conferences, meetings, or whatever else, the MoGo will get you there in no time and you’re never going to have to worry about where to park your bike or if it’s going to be stolen. Not to mention, it’s easy to get from the Central Business District to the Podcast Detroit studio at 21st Street and Vernor for our shows on MoGo. There’s a station on the same block.
We’ve counted up 12 meetings that we MoGo’d to in the last week or so.
The streetcar, when you do take it and it’s not a sportsball game, looks much emptier than when they were offering free rides. It’s going to be very interesting to see what their ridership is now.
The QLINE for sure is a “catalyst” for development. Developers who don’t live here find rails much more believable than a flexible bus line or Bus Rapid Transit. From a grander vision thing, in theory, we see that argument. And streetcars — especially if they reach farther or go faster — can be an important part of a transportation mix.
But actually living and doing things here, and having an interaction with the city that’s more than once in awhile for a special event, it’s a different question. The MoGo bike share is the clear choice.