School Transportation on Metro
AUGUST 2023 SERVICE UPDATES: As part of our routine updates to our fixed-route service network, Metro will implement multiple adjustments to service routes and schedules, effective August 13, to accommodate the thousands of Cincinnati Public Schools and other students who ride Metro to school.
When trip-planning, be sure to enter the first day of school or later to see accurate times and schedules. Use either the Transit app or our Google Trip Planner to find your route, or download schedule PDFs from our Schedules page.
Please note: CPS families wishing to switch their K-8 students from yellow bus service to the Metro smart card program must visit CPS' Transportation FAQ webpage here to find the request form.
With more than a half-century of collaboration, Metro and Cincinnati Public Schools continue to work together to meet students' transportation needs and enhance their trip experience. Like in years past, school-year improvements will go into effect the week classes resume, in order to better accommodate CPS riders and reduce travel times and transfers.
Planning Your Trip
CPS families can begin planning their students' trips to school ahead of time using our handy Google Trip Planner tool (for desktop browsers only). Note: Be sure to enter the first day of school (for CPS students, 08/17/23) into the "Date" field in the trip planner in order to access the correct route information.
For trip planning using a mobile device, use either Transit app or Google Maps. Note: Be sure to set the arrival/depart date as the first day of school or later (for CPS students, 08/17/23) in order to access the correct route information.
For desktop users:
For mobile users:
Need additional help planning your trip? Metro representatives will be available at the following CPS-organized events to assist families planning their trips:
- School Orientation Sessions: Please check back for dates/times for 2023 orientation sessions.
Improved Service for CPS Students
Improvements to student transportation for the 2023-24 school year include:
Eligibility: Eligible CPS 9-12 graders who live more than one mile away from their school will receive a Metro bus pass. Seventh and 8th graders will ride yellow bus service this school year. CPS will mail each student a transportation postcard to their home address. Students should use this postcard to ride to school on the first day of school, where they will receive their Metro pass. They will need their bus pass to ride home from school that day and for all trips thereafter. After-school/extracurricular passes for 7th-12th graders will also be available for students participating in those activities.
Service Hours: Metro Student Passes are valid for eligible 9th – 12th grade CPS students for travel on Metro buses Monday through Friday between the hours of 6:00 - 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 - 6:30 p.m. only. Seventh- through 12th-grade students utilizing extracurricular Metro passes will be granted quarter-specific passes from CPS to use for transportation to and from school extracurricular activities on weekdays between 6:30 - 10:30 p.m.
More options: Ninth- through 12th-grade students will benefit from increased access across Metro's system, including added frequency on Metro routes serving CPS high schools and two new crosstown routes serving peak student commute times. Students will have more options for getting to school on time, and increased service frequency on these routes will help prevent crowding.
Reduced transfers: Service for the 2023-24 school year will offer more direct bus service to and from high schools and will reduce the number of transfers needed. All (100%) of eligible students can ride from home to school and back with one or no transfers needed, with most transfers occurring at an off-street transit center (e.g., Government Square or Northside Transit Center).
Safety and Security Enhancements: Metro has dedicated security resources system-wide to ensure the safety of students and all Metro riders as part of its extended service hours and other system improvements. Metro employees are available to help you chart your student's bus trip and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Metro is proud of its long history partnering with CPS to connect student riders to high schools within the district. During the 2021-22 school year, Metro provided more than 8,900 student trips each school day, with an average on-time performance of 95%, with "on time" being defined as arriving within 10 minutes of school-start, as per the district's request.
To view a printable version of this FAQ, click or tap here.
How do I get my student pass?
Each school is responsible for distributing Metro passes to eligible 9th-12th-grade student riders for the 2023-24 school year. Metro bus passes will be provided to families during school orientation. If you are not able to attend orientation, CPS has mailed postcards to each eligible student rider that may be used to ride Metro to class on the first day of school only. Students are expected to pick up their Metro bus pass that day for their return trip home.
When are my passes valid?
Metro student passes are valid for eligible 9th-12th-grade CPS students for travel on Metro buses on weekdays between the hours of 6:00 - 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 - 6:30 p.m. only.
Students utilizing extracurricular passes will be granted quarter-specific passes from CPS to use for transportation to and from school-sanctioned extracurricular activities on weekdays between the hours of 4:30 - 10:30 p.m. only.
What is the student fare?
Thanks to our agreement with CPS, all student riders will receive a special Metro smart card that lets them ride any bus (within the allotted time windows established by CPS) without paying any additional fare.
How do I find my best route option to get to school?
The new schedule information is now available in the Google Transit mapping system. You can preview your new trip in multiple ways, outlined above in the "Planning Your Trip" section. Each of these options allows you to select between routes based on total travel time, the number of transfers or the amount of walking required.
Recent service enhancements have ensured that all eligible student riders can ride from home to school and back with one transfer or fewer, with most transfers occurring at an off-street transit center. If you need help with the trip planning, please reach out to Metro for assistance.
How close to each school will the buses drop off and pick up?
Each Metro bus serving CPS schools will pick up and drop off at points determined by CPS staff. Metro routes serving Walnut Hills High School will drop off directly on school property.
Who can I call with questions regarding student transportation?
For general questions or concerns, please contact the CPS Transportation Hotline at 513-363-RIDE. If you need assistance with trip planning, you may contact Metro in the following ways:
Additionally, Metro staff members will be available for questions and to assist with trip planning during student orientations at each high school. Staff also will be available during the CPS cookout at Washington Park on Aug. 7 and during school orientation sessions (see above).
Tips for catching and riding the bus:
- Arrive at the designated bus stop at least five minutes before your scheduled pick-up time.
- When boarding, tap your bus pass on the farebox and listen for the beep.
- Once boarded, quickly find a seat and avoid changing seats while the bus is moving.
- If you must stand, hold onto the closest handrail or pole for safety.
- When you need to alert the driver of your stop, pull the cord at the top of the bus to signal to the driver that your stop is coming up.
- While riding, please be courteous of your fellow passengers. Profanity, playing of music without earphones, loud noise and rowdy behavior may result in removal of your riding privileges on Metro.
- When exiting, don't cross in front of the bus. Wait until the bus pulls away before starting to cross the street. Only cross and crosswalks and obey traffic signals.
How safe is riding the bus?
Overall, Metro is a very safe system, and Metro has implemented additional protocols to ensure rider safety:
- Security cameras on all buses
- Newest buses feature security monitors so passengers can observe their surroundings in real time while riding
- All buses are in radio contact with Metro's control center and can contact supervisors and/or law enforcement if necessary.
- Metro has contracted with the Cincinnati Police Department to provide random rides and extra patrols at Government Square and other transit centers throughout the system.
- Any student feeling unsafe is encouraged to notify the bus operator or sit toward the front of the bus.