The District Department of Transportation is evaluating the purchase of new and different streetcars for its fleet, as it struggles to find parts for its existing vehicles.
DDOT officials were expected tell the D.C. Council Tuesday that it will seek to use new streetcars for extensions planned over the next five years. Its current fleet of six cars has been difficult to service because one of the vendors went out of business and the other is based in the Czech Republic.
However, it insisted that it has no plans to scrap the current fleet of six cars, which operates along a 2.2-mile stretch of H Street and Benning Road. It said it is evaluating purchasing new and different streetcars as it plans to add extensions to Benning Road and Georgetown, expected to debut in 2024.
“There’s a long lead time (often five years) so starting now is prudent,” DDOT said. “This planning effort will consider various options to enhance the performance and limit costs of the fleet, including evaluating the vehicles currently in service, to determine the best fleet management approach to achieve the system’s performance goals.”
The DC Streetcar has had a rough debut since launching after numerous delays in 2016, and the District has scaled back its original plans for a robust streetcar network spanning the entire city.
The DC Streetcar is currently free for passengers, and the District said it had no immediate plans to begin charging fares.