WASHINGTON — Only two years after the D.C. Streetcar launched, the District is already seriously considering a plan to replace its vehicles.
In responses prepared for a D.C. Council hearing Tuesday — which happens to be the two-year anniversary of the first passengers’ trips down H Street NE — the District Department of Transportation said there have been problems already with getting spare parts to complete repairs in a timely manner. One manufacturer is out of business, and the other is overseas, so the issues are likely to continue.
“Long term parts availability will likely require reverse engineering parts,” DDOT officials wrote to the council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. The agency said it is exploring a strategy of acquiring vehicles in the future that “considers the feasibility of disposal of the current fleet.”
Federal Transit Administration guidelines set a streetcar’s typical lifespan at 31 years. Even if the current fleet runs for another five years, it would still have only been in service for seven. The cars arrived a few years before the line opened for passenger service.
Long-term budget plans call for at least $25 million in new streetcars to be purchased over several years beginning in late 2020 or early 2021. Those streetcars would serve the existing 2.2-mile stretch, and an extension along Benning Road to connect the line to the Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road Metro stations.
The complete story here > DC considers plan to replace streetcar fleet, still has no plans to make riders pay