Metro to implement new flexible payment options March 1

Beginning March 1, Metro buses in Cincinnati will implement a new monthly pass system. The new system will allow riders to purchase rolling 30-day passes at any time, replacing the month-by-month system currently in place.

The new system was introduced last November after the city received $3.6 million federal grant to match their $900,000 local commitment. The total investment allowed for Metro to upgrade the fareboxes and monthly passes for all 342 buses in their fleet.

After only two months of the month-by-month passes, Metro decided to provide riders with the option to purchase passes on a rolling 30-day basis. The new rolling passes are part of an effort to increase public transit across the city.

An articulated bus picks up passengers at Government Square in downtown Cincinnati. Photograph by Randy A. Simes for UrbanCincy.

“We are striving to make public transit more convenient,” Metro public relations manager Jill Dunne told UrbanCincy. “Our goal is to increase public transit and to encourage people to take advantage of Metro.”

Metro also has plans to implement smart passes with a tap-and-go capability this summer. The idea is that the technological improvements will make using public transit easier, and offer riders greater flexibility with the cash value they store on their cards.

Over the course of 2011, UrbanCincy challenged its readers about Metro’s functionality and how to improve the system. The responses overwhelmingly said that the lack of GoogleTransit interface and the outdated payment system used were the two things in most need of improvement. In spring 2011, Metro finalized their interface with GoogleTransit, and now it appears as though the new payment options are a strong step in the right direction.

“Kudos to Metro. I still remember the time I saw the bus driver take a large utility knife to the coin collector, while driving because change was stuck and no one was able to pay,” Zachary Schunn commented. “I hope to never see that again.”

Dunne says that Metro is always open to new ideas, regarding both passes and the bus system in general, and that Metro has recently updated its website in an effort to make its information more accessible. Watch a YouTube video on how to use the new payment options.

  • It’s really encouraging that Metro is continuing to work on improving their new payment system. These new features will drastically improve the way in which people can pay for and use transit in the Cincinnati region. I think I am most excited for the tap-and-go cards to be introduced this summer. Very exciting!

    • Anonymous

      tap-and-go will be great. I ride the metro usually a few times a week to go downtown from Clifton. The cost of buying a pass is not justified. Carrying a pocket full of change is a hassle. It will be nice just to tap my debit/credit card or whatever electronic payment methods it will be compatible with.

  • Awesome! I look forward to not needing exact change and also to being able to buy tickets at government square. 

  • Zachary Schunn

    Lol at the quote.  No idea you were going to use that.

    It really is nice to see the city join the 21st century in its transportation.  The streetcar is big news, but even items like this and updated parking meters is critical.  (A few times recently I had to avoid going somewhere because I didn’t have the change to put in the meter.)

    And I guess that bus driver will no longer need that knife.  It was certainly funny, though, to see people get on at Court Street and see their reactions when the driver was jabbing at the coin collector with a 6″ blade.

    • Zachary Schunn

      PS:  Any regular Metro users have a need for a 30-day pass?  I won a free one from a drawing, but unfortunately don’t use the bus enough any more to justify it.  (My work as a real estate agent is now mobile, so I’ll never know if I can use the bus to get where I need to go or not.)

      Email me at if interested.