Everything you need to know about Detroit's new streetcar system: The QLINE

Your full guide to Detroit's new streetcar system

DETROIT – The QLINE will continue its free service through next week, officials said Sunday.

Detroit's newest form of transportation started service Friday down Woodward Avenue.

The M-1 Rail, named the QLINE, held a special event at the Penske Technical Center to celebrate the launch.

Here's everything you need to know about Detroit's new streetcar system:

Hours of operation:

The QLINE will operate from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 6 a.m. – midnight on Friday, 8 a.m. – midnight on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday.  

What is a streetcar?

The three-piece, articulated cars are 66 feet long and carry 125 passengers on average. They will travel the maximum speed on Woodward — 35 m.p.h. — and stop for traffic lights.  QLINE streetcars are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allowing for station-level access for pedestrians, and persons who use mobility assist devices such as wheelchairs. The modern streetcars are wi-fi enabled with vertical back racks and a heating and cooling system. The cars are powered by a 750-volt lithium ion battery, operating 60% off-wire, the highest percentage of any streetcar system in the United States. 

Where are the QLINE stations?

The streetcar route will include 20 stations serving 12 locations. The streetcar will serve curb-side stations for nearly the entire route, transitioning to center-running at the north and south ends of the system to promote walk-ability, economic growth and established attractions along the route.

See a map with all the stations here.

There will be stops from North End/New Center to Midtown, to Downtown.

How is this different than the People Mover?

The Detroit People Mover is an elevated circulator system within Downtown Detroit. The Woodward Avenue streetcar is a linear system co-mingled with vehicular traffic that will travel north and south along Woodward Avenue with 12 stops between Congress Street at the south end and West Grand Boulevard at the north end.  They are complementary systems to move residents, visitors and employees.

How will the QLINE affect existing bus service?

Bus service will not be affected. For example, Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) Route 53 (Woodward Avenue) will continue to operate as usual.  Route 53 service will continue with established headways along the corridor during the day and after the evening rush hour.  SMART Buses will also continue to operate.

How much will it cost to ride the QLINE?

Ridership costs will be finalized as we get closer to the completion of construction, however it’s estimated it will cost $1.50 for a walk-up fare; there will also be discounts for seniors, students and others.

Will there be security at stops and on cars?

There will be an emergency phone and closed circuit security systems at all of the stations. A driver will be present on each of the streetcar vehicles and will have the ability to contact local law enforcement and/or other public safety organizations.

How much will it cost to operate?

It is estimated the costs to operate and maintain the modern streetcar system will be approximately $5.5-million each year.  M-1 RAIL has raised enough funds to operate it for up-to 10 years.  Operations will be supplemented by revenues from fare box and advertising.

Learn how drivers can safely coexist with the QLINE in a car, bike or while walking:

Each streetcar vehicle will have brake lights in the back to inform drivers and cyclists when the streetcar will stop at a station.

The streetcar is designed for use in high pedestrian areas. Due to streetcar vehicles operating in the roadway and being required to follow normal traffic flow. This creates a more predictable environment for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.


Where the streetcar will be center-running, north of Burroughs Street, there will be a different impact for bicyclists. South of Burroughs Street, where the streetcar will be side-running, cyclists are encouraged to use alternate routes.  Should they choose Woodward in that area they should ride between the rails or in the available parking lane. Cyclists will need to be cautious when crossing or coming in contact with the streetcar tracks so they don’t fall in the flange.

M-1 is participating in additional outreach within non-motorized groups to continue to discuss additional steps that can be taken to ensure bike safety along and around the Woodward Corridor. M-1 is dedicated to working with all partners to continue to improve ride-ability and safety for cyclists along all routes.

What places can the QLINE take me to?

Check out this great detailed guide on the more than 100 places to see and visit while riding the QLINE.

You can find more answers to frequently asked questions on the M-1 Rail website.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.