What's the State of Metro? Reinvention
Metro to build new Oakley transit center in 2016; introduction of new small buses, mobile ticketing planned
CINCINNATI – At the 2015 State of Metro annual meeting today, Metro announced ways that it is reinventing transit in the community, including construction of a new Oakley transit center and other improvements beginning in 2016:
- New Oakley Transit Center will break ground in 2016. The new transit center, located on Ibsen just east of Marburg, will serve several eastside routes and offer customer amenities like real-time information and a ticket vending machine
- New smaller buses for more efficient operations on low-ridership routes that don’t require a 40-ft. bus but that still need lifeline transit service. This service would be operated by current Metro bus operators.
- New commuter-style buses for longer routes serving suburban park & rides
- New mobile ticketing so customers can purchase their fare on their smartphone
It was also announced that Metro has balanced its 2016 budget with no fare increases or service-level reductions.
Dwight Ferrell, CEO and general manager who will celebrate his one year anniversary with Metro in January, said the initiatives are the result of community feedback, discussions with business leaders and stakeholders, and a study by transportation consultants.
“We have been seeking feedback from a wide range of experts and constituents and will continue to do so as we shape the transit system of the future,” Ferrell said. “I am grateful so many people in this community have shared their ideas and thoughts. People in this region place a high value on transit, especially when it comes to connecting people to jobs.”
“We are always looking ahead and planning for the future needs of this community,” SORTA Board Chair Jason Dunn said. “Our goal is to continue to operate efficiently while constantly working to improve service.”
Other speakers at the event included Carolyn Flowers, Senior Advisor to Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration Therese McMillan, and Dr. Valarie McCall, Chair of the American Public Transportation Association Board.
At the annual meeting, Dunn recapped Metro’s 2015 accomplishments:
- Began the Metro Futures Task Force composed of community leaders who are considering what transit should become in Greater Cincinnati
- Introduced real-time information on apps like Bus Detective and Transit app, on Metro’s website and via phone
- Contracted with the City of Cincinnati to manage the Cincinnati Streetcar
- Retained internationally known firm Transdev to handle daily operations and maintenance of the streetcar system
- Engaged Millennials though community outreach and instituted an employee Millennial Council
- Received the highest national award for security from the American Public Transportation Association, for the second consecutive year
Metro also presented the following awards:
- go*Metro Transit Partner Awards:
- Gaslight for the development of the Bus Detective real-time information app
- Cincy YP for its role in hosting an entertainment shuttle for YPs to teach them how to ride Metro
- Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation for a grant for videos promoting the use of Metro, Red Bike and the Cincinnati Streetcar among YPs
- Red Bike for its many partnerships with Metro and adding streetcar safety decals on Red Bikes
- Transit Friendly Destination partners Agenda 360, Skyward and Green Umbrella for promoting transit among local businesses
- Horseshoe Casino for the greatest increase in transit pass sales to employees
- Kroger Walnut Hills for a new program at its store to sell transit passes to the community
- Royal Coachperson Awards: Former SORTA board members Frank Bowen, Brennan Grayson, and Lamont Taylor
- Chairman’s Award: Arnold Isham, Director of Operations
Metro is a tax-supported public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 17 million rides per year in Greater Cincinnati.
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