CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – On Monday, starting at 5 am, people can get on one of Charlotte’s five new streetcars for free. They’ll operate every 20 minutes until 2 am.
Business owners are excited to have more foot traffic in the area but say the road to get to this point wasn’t easy. Streetcars will be offering an amazing view of the city as a faster way to get through uptown.
Passengers can get a free ride from the Historic West End to the Elizabeth Neighborhood. For drivers, that means paying close attention to bells, horns, and warnings when you’re around one.
For Angel Robinson, it means more customers and transportation for students. She owns Charlie’s Angels Beauty Bar on West Trade Street and says the new addition that rolls past her shop every day didn’t come without headaches.
Construction caused major delays and detours for customers. It took the city close to three and a half years to get to this point citing minor repairs needed to be fixed.
“Small business owners were not in the know of anything that happened, any of the changes,” Robinson said. “I’m excited for the gold line, and anything they want to bring, I just want them to bring it more efficiently.”
Testing of the line started in February, and FOX 46 was there when crews told us without the successful completion of tests, there is no way the project could get off the ground.
The streetcars come when the Historical West End is undergoing a facelift. New restaurants are popping up like Rita’s and Jets Pizza. Plus, students are back at Johnson C. Smith.
“I’m happy to be part of the before and the after. I am so happy to be part of the renaissance of this community. So yes, they can do more,” Robinson said, “I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do with across the street here.”
You can ride the streetcar for free until January. The city says they have more plans for the area including work being done to some of the roadways and sidewalks that shouldn’t impact traffic. Phase three of the project will continue when the city acquires more money for it.