Celebration in Detroit as QLINE launches Friday

After years of preparation and planning - the launch of Detroit's new light rail system is finally happening.

The QLINE is scheduled to begin picking up passengers Friday following a celebratory program at Grand Circus Park downtown. Speakers included Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan, and businessmen Roger Penske and Dan Gilbert.

"This is an opportunity not only to be doing great things today but to be at the forefront of where we need to be for the next generation and the generation after that to keep Detroit on the path to be the great city that it is," Gov. Snyder said at the ceremony.

You can ride the QLINE for free all this weekend in honor of the grand opening. Nearly 100 businesses and restaurants along the route are offering different deals and discounts to encourage you to explore the city.

It's 6.6-mile roundtrip loop will extend from the downtown riverfront to Detroit's New Center Area, with several stops in New Center, Midtown and downtown. You can check out the route at www.qlinedetroit.com/plan-your-ride

"I see the New Center and downtown which, in the '20s when GM built that headquarters everybody assumed it was going to all fill in together, I see, almost a century later, it's starting to happen, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says.

The project was led by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state and the federal government.

The QLINE features three-piece streetcars that are each 66 feet long and can carry an average of 125 passengers per car.

After this weekend, the daily walk-up fare is $1.50 and is good for three hours.