The Milwaukee Hop took its first group of passengers not testing the system down the rails Monday.
Mayor Tom Barrett, who has been behind the often controversial rail system took local journalists along for the ride as well.
“I’ve been very pleased, this is the very first time I’ve ever ridden this,” said Barrett.
The Hop will open to the public on Friday and run through the 18 stops on the “M-Line” every 15 minutes during operational hours.
The modern streetcars are heated and cooled and can hold 150 people each.
Five total streetcar vehicles have been delivered to the city for use.
“We’re connecting people and we’re connecting places…In order for us to continue to grow, I think it’s important for us to have transportation that reflects the demands and concerns of people… this is part of it. It’s part of a larger picture a larger puzzle but it’s an important part of it” said Barrett.
The mayor says a recent transit development plan envisions more extensions to the north and south of Downtown Milwaukee. Barrett says “what we are focusing on right now is maximizing the federal involvement, having federal dollars pay for part of it as it did for this.”
The Hop opens to the public with a ceremony on Friday, several of the businesses in the are offering special promotions in celebration of the opening.