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Portland streetcar ridership increasing but still nearly half of pre-pandemic levels

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(The Center Square) – The city of Portland’s streetcar ridership is still almost 50% below pre-pandemic levels although ridership continues to increase.

Streetcar ridership has increased to 2.6 million annual riders, a 1.1 million increase from 2021 but still almost 50% down from pre-pandemic peak ridership, according to recent data released by the Federal Transit Administration.

Peak ridership reached 4.9 million in 2018.

Portland’s operating costs have increased to $21.8 million in 2022, almost reaching the pre-pandemic numbers of $22 million reported in 2019.

Like most transit agencies in the country, the pandemic hit ridership hard, but the city of Portland is seeing a total of 7,560 weekday riders as of December 2023.

In September 2023, the Portland Bureau of Transportation released documents detailing reductions needed as well as the depletion of the $63 million in reserves.

The transportation agency saw a hiring freeze and furloughs in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, with 16 full-time employee cuts.

The city of Portland didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

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