Jun 4, 2020

We Heard You

A statement from Kreg Keesee, Chair, and Darryl Haley, CEO.
We heard you.

Metro will no longer provide its buses to the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) who are working so diligently and professionally to address the recent protests. In the past two days, we have worked closely with the city administration to find a solution to this current situation that does not rely upon Metro. We will sell to the city three buses that were no longer in active service and were being prepared for public auction. The buses first went into service for Metro in 2004 and have been out of service since last year. Our estimated auction value and, therefore, purchase price for these vehicles was $7,500 ($2,500 each).

In this past week, we answered the city’s urgent call to use our buses to transport Cincinnati Police Department officers and remove detainees from the protests. An important factor was CPD’s belief that the use of buses was the safest available option to transport large numbers of detainees. We know our decision was opposed by some riders, members of the community and especially our operators represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 and we appreciate why. We have a long history of working with local police, fire and other agencies for the safety of our riders, operators and members of the community. We especially appreciate and value our long relationship with CPD to the benefit of our riders and operators.
We support and respect our operators’ decision to not operate buses during the protests. After they expressed that preference, we initially agreed to have non-union Metro supervisors drive our buses to help the city. We subsequently decided that our buses could continue to be used by the city only if driven by CPD officers who were trained to do so.

As a publicly funded transportation agency, we support our community’s right to peacefully protest. We support the cause for justice and equality. We also abhor the violence that has been perpetrated. It is up to each of us to stand up for what is right, challenge our own biases and work to bring about the change we want to see in our community. As an organization, we pledge to continue doing that work.

Metro has a role to play in creating a more just, equitable and inclusive society. We will take an even deeper look at all of our practices and policies – holding them up to a microscope and reviewing them regularly. We will do all that we can to ensure that we provide all citizens access to the transportation services they need to connect with jobs, health care, social services, education and more. These critical and basic human needs have the power to lift families out of the cycle of poverty and level the playing field for individuals in our communities who have been historically disenfranchised.

We stand with all those working for positive change. At Metro, we do not see this as a black or brown issue. We see it as a humanity issue. We all benefit from a just society.
Thank you for keeping us accountable. We will continue to listen and work to make decisions that appropriately reflect who we are as an organization and our mission to serve our community.
We heard you.

Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 13.5 million rides per year.

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