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Detroit’s QLine: Success or Failure?

Sophia Graham

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After 10 years of planning, constructing, and financing, Detroit’s QLine has finally opened. The M-1 Rail, the non-profit that organized the project, was very excited to unveil the system on May 12th.  All of the pesky orange barrels on Woodward have finally been cleared away, making room for the long-awaited streetcar! The QLine takes riders on a 3.3 mile track, with 12 stops along the way. Despite the long lines (nearly 7,000 people ride the streetcar every day!), the reviews of the public transit system have been very divided.

To start, many Detroit residents just don’t see the QLine as a viable transportation option. The cars only reach a measly speed of thirty miles per hour, and a full loop (6.6 miles) takes about 25 minutes to complete. The streetcar system might be useful for large, congested events, such as Tigers games or concerts this summer. When it comes to short distances, however, a majority of people will choose to walk instead. Detroit residents aren’t quite sure how to fit the QLine into their busy schedule yet, but it may improve as time goes on.

Because of its inefficiency, the QLine has been criticized, mocked, and spoofed by Michigan residents. A complaint that many people have is that the QLine is in an area that already has many transport systems. They believe that building it in a way that connects the suburbs to Woodward Avenue would be better. Plus, cars don’t run very frequently. Only 3 cars come to any given station each hour, so you should expect wait times to be long if you plan on riding.

Still, not all reviews of the QLine are negative. Lots of people are amazed that the QLine was built, despite tough times in the Motor City. Dan Lijana, a media representative for the M-1 rail, stated that  “This project survived the bankruptcy of the city, the bankruptcy of two of its largest employers in General Motors and Chrysler, [and] we had a mayor go to jail.” The QLine, to many citizens in Detroit, is an example of how Detroit is moving forward.

The QLine, despite its harsh critics and minor issues, is on its way to becoming a symbol of hope and recovery to the people of Detroit.

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For the students by the students
Detroit’s QLine: Success or Failure?