Metro Community Impact Study Released
CINCINNATI – The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which operates Metro transit service, continues to compare favorably to similar services provided in other bus-only peer cities according to “The Community Impact and Related Benefits of Metro” (http://bit.ly/1HtIkjG) study by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center. SORTA ranks second lowest in operating cost per commuter among comparable bus-only peer cities.
“This study tells us that our services are delivered efficiently,” SORTA Board Chair Jason Dunn said. “But we’re not yet connecting people to jobs as well as we need to. We need to deliver our services differently to meet the needs of today’s worker.”
The study was conducted to examine SORTA’s role as an economic driver in the region by connecting people to jobs, medical facilities, and other services.
- There are over 50,000 jobs in health care that do not have access to Metro service with a quarter mile of a work establishment.
- There are about 25,000 manufacturing jobs that are more than a half mile from a Metro route.
- More than 70% of all business establishments in Hamilton County are within ¼ mile of a Metro route, although Metro may not provide adequate levels of service to access some of the jobs.
- Metro potentially reduces the impact of parking congestion downtown by about 8,500 spaces, or approximately 25%.
- The top five fastest growing zip codes in Hamilton County in terms of job growth from 2009 to 2014 are all within the service areas for the top five Metro routes.
- 3.7% of potential commuters working within a quarter mile of a Metro route use the service -- this compares favorably to Columbus at 2.3%.
- Metro supports one job per $5,900 of expenditures -- $2,700 of which is locally subsidized by City of Cincinnati earning’s tax, with the balance from fare revenue, federal and state funding, and other sources.
“We must continue to improve the way Metro’s routes are structured and our service is delivered to better connect people to jobs, healthcare, education and other services,” said Metro CEO & General Manager Dwight A. Ferrell. “By adding crosstown routes and developing even more efficient ways to get riders to where they want to go, we can significantly increase our impact on the regional economy.”
The data from the study is being used to inform the work of the Metro Futures task Force. Previous studies have shown Metro to be the most operationally efficient system among all peer cities. Metro also has the highest service capacity among bus-only peer cities.
“This information, more third-party evaluations, our community listening sessions and the work of the Metro Futures Task Force is all being undertaken with the future in mind,” Dunn said. “We are doing our due diligence in refining our long-range plan that will help us identify the needs for the future and how to pay for the service that the community needs.”
SORTA operates Metro and Access non-profit, tax-funded public transit services, providing about 17 million rides per year in Greater Cincinnati. About half of Metro’s rides per year are related to employment.