The New Orleans streetcars are so much more than just a form of public transport. These trolleys are a piece of history, first making their appearance in The Big Easy in the 1800s. You’ll see them whizzing past, bells a-ringing, in just about every major tourist neighbourhood in the city along the 4 currently operational lines, the most famous being the St. Charles Streetcar Line. Having opened in the 1800s, it’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world.

    Of course, the streetcars you’ll see on the lines today aren’t actually that old – some were built as recently as the early 2000s. If you want to ride in a truly antique streetcar, you’ll want to catch the 1920s streetcars on the St. Charles Line. Regardless of where you ride, though, you can always count on the system’s wildly affordable fares: just over a dollar for a 1-way trip.

    Riding the St. Charles Line on the New Orleans streetcars

    If you’re riding the New Orleans streetcars for fun rather than function, you’ll definitely want to head to the St. Charles Line, which conveniently runs right through some of the most popular New Orleans neighbourhoods for visitors – the French Quarter and the Central Business District. The line passes by some of the most popular spots in the city, too, from hallowed live music haunts to ancient oak-shaded architectural wonders.

    Seeing all that the line offers, from one end to the other, takes under 45 minutes. However, keep in mind that’s just for a 1-way trip. If you want to get back to where you started, you’ll need to take the line back, so the full ride would take you about an hour and a half.

    Other routes for the New Orleans streetcars

    While the St. Charles Line is the most popular for travellers, you may want to take the other 3 streetcars and explore everything they have to offer. While they don’t have as much historic appeal, they still offer their own unique quirks and take you to different sites around the city.

    The Canal Street Line runs through the Central Business District, Bayou St. John and City Park. One perk of the newer trolleys on this line is air conditioning – a godsend in the New Orleans summer heat. This line will take you to see some of New Orleans’ notable cemeteries, as well as the gorgeous City Park, which contains several museums and even an amusement park.

    The Rampart Line travels between Union Passenger Terminal and Elysian Fields Avenue, taking travellers through the Central Business District and French Quarter. The newest of the streetcar lines, it’s a good pick if you’re trying to get to the popular Louis Armstrong Park.

    Finally, the Riverfront Line is a little less interesting for travellers wanting to see the sights but will take you between Canal Street Station and French Market Station, if you’re needing to travel to that area.

    Good to know about the New Orleans streetcars

    A 1-way streetcar ticket is not the only way to pay your streetcar fare. You can also purchase Jazzy Passes, which will give you unlimited rides on all of the streetcars for 1, 3, 5 or 31 days. If you’re travelling in a group, you can also purchase a pack of 10 1-way passes.

    If you don’t have cash to pay your streetcar fare, you can pay via the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) gomobile app, which allows you to pay your fare from your phone. You can also purchase the Jazzy Passes on the RTA website. Special fares are available for senior citizens 65 years of age or older, as well as for disabled riders or Medicare cardholders.

    New Orleans Streetcars

    Phone: +1 504-248-3900

    Holly Riddle | Contributing Writer

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