Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board members and Metro leadership are presenting the “State of Metro” to area community councils and other leadership and civic groups throughout the upcoming months. The goal is to share recent changes that make existing service more efficient and to engage the community in face-to-face conversations about the future of transit.
This State of Metro outreach is being implemented instead of a traditional annual meeting, resulting in a broader group of community members learning about the organization’s state of affairs.
“We run an efficient transit system and we’re making strides to reinvent our organization. But Metro is at a crossroads, and it’s important that the community we serve is aware of the realities facing the organization,” says Jason Dunn, chair of the SORTA Board. “It will take the involvement of everybody to ensure we build a public transportation system that better meets the needs of Greater Cincinnati.”
Metro will make presentations at the following community council meetings:
•Bond Hill: 7 p.m., Dec. 1, Bond Hill Recreation Center
•Lower Price Hill: 7 p.m., Dec. 5, Community Matters
•Hyde Park: 7 p.m., Dec. 13, Knox Presbyterian Church
•Madisonville: 7 p.m., Dec. 15, Madisonville Recreation Center
•Mt. Lookout: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 19, Christ the King Parish Center
•Oakley: 7 p.m., Jan. 3, Oakley Community Center
•Walnut Hills: 6:30 p.m., Jan. 12, Bush Recreation Center
•Westwood: 7 p.m., Jan. 17, Westwood Town Hall
•Corryville: 6 p.m. Feb. 14, Corryville Recreation Center
Metro visited Northside’s community council in late November. More community council meetings are in the process of being confirmed.
Metro is also planning meetings with county leaders, job development organizations and business and civic organizations to update them on the system’s current status, challenges, and proposed changes.
Metro recently announced that, despite balancing its budget in 2017, it is projecting deficits for each of the next five years beginning in 2018. If Metro continues with its current public funding structure, which primarily comes from a portion of the City of Cincinnati earnings tax, this will result in the transit authority seeking a fare increase, reducing services, or both. With a change to a county-wide funding structure, however, Metro could better serve all of Hamilton County, including the City of Cincinnati, with more services, better connections and improved access to jobs, school, shopping and medical appointments.
Metro CEO and General Manager Dwight Ferrell wants to hear from riders and non-riders about what they want from Metro. Send ideas to TellDwight@go-metro.com. To request a presentation by Metro at a community council meeting, email ReinventingMetro@go-metro.com.
Metro: At a Crossroads
Metro, a non-profit public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, projects a budget deficit every year after 2017. This is largely a result of decreasing ridership as jobs move to areas of the county not adequately served – if at all – by public transit. Metro’s service is mostly limited to the city core, as its primary public funding comes from a portion of the City of Cincinnati earnings tax. Without a change to its public funding structure, Metro soon will be forced to seek fare increases, reduce services or both, even further limiting access to jobs, school and services. With a change to a county-wide public funding structure, however, Metro could better serve Hamilton County with more services, better connections and improved access to jobs, school, shopping and medical appointments.
Metro currently provides about 16 million rides per year, half of which are related to employment.