The Grand Opening of the KC Streetcar was held the weekend of May 6-7, 2016 with much fanfare and celebration. It started Friday morning with a public ceremony at Union Station where at least 600 people attended to see the first public ride of the streetcar. The inaugural “first ride” included participants such as Mayor Sly James, City Council members, KC Streetcar Authority members, FTA dignitaries, KCATA and KCMO members, Jackson County executives, project members and even Mr. John Donnell, a former streetcar operator from Kansas City’s previous streetcar era.
More than 12,000 people rode the KC Streetcar on opening day between the hours of 11:30am-2:00am. Once the public ceremony concluded, all of downtown Kansas City, from one end of the route to the other, was electric with energy, activity and KC pride.
There were lunch specials all along the corridor, live music and entertainment along the route, parties in the KC Crossroads District, which were aligned with First Fridays, a movie in City Market Park, Middle of the Map Fest throughout downtown, and carnival rides and fireworks at Union Station.
Festivities continued into Saturday with the City Market (Farmer’s Market) heavily attended throughout the day, a Royals watch party in the afternoon at Union Station, a Kentucky Derby party in the KC Power & Light District, and more carnival rides, live music and fireworks at Union Station throughout the afternoon and evening. Ridership numbers for the first Saturday of service exceeded 14,000.