Will Uptown Transit District increase ridership for Metro?

Uptown Transit DistrictThe UC*Metro program, which allows University of Cincinnati students, faculty, and staff to purchase discounted transit passes, has seen many changes since it was introduced in 2007. With the latest extension to the agreement, the cost is unchanged; students will be able to purchase passes for $53 per semester for the next three academic years. The cost for employees is also unchanged at $160 per semester.

What riders will notice, however, is that several of the Metro facilities they’ll use have been significantly upgraded. Work is now complete on the Uptown Transit District, Metro’s name for a number of improvements at four locations near campus. In addition to wayfinding signage and improved lighting, all of the new stops feature real-time arrival information, which was first introduced by Metro in 2012, and two of the stops also feature ticket vending machines, like the ones Metro installed at the Government Square bus hub earlier this year.

The Uptown Transit District upgrades are an example of how the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is continuing to improve service and increase ridership in spite of its limited budget. In February, we reported that SORTA is one of the best stewards of limited financial resources, compared to 11 peer agencies across the country.

In 2012, SORTA built the Glenway Crossing Transit Center park and ride location, which seves several routes, including the 32, 38X, and 41. Earlier this year, SORTA reported that ridership was up by as much around 20% on these routes compared to the previous year.

While SORTA isn’t anticipating a specific increase in ridership due to the Uptown Transit District upgrades, the goal of those improvements was to “make it easier for current and new riders,” Jill Dunne, Public Affairs Manager for SORTA, told UrbanCincy.

  • Michael Widener

    The new stations are nice, but in my opinion, a realtime mobile arrival/departure app would do a whole lot more to drive ridership. SORTA seems to consistently say they’re only a few months to a year away from releasing something like this (at least for the past 2 years I’ve been here), without providing much info.

    • EDG

      Releasing app with streetcar

    • Michael Widener

      Thanks for the info – glad to know it is coming. Still, it is a bit frustrating as a daily SORTA commuter to know they have the realtime data but don’t have a platform to share it beyond the hub/district displays until 2015/2016 – especially on those all-too-common days where the 17 whizzes past my stop 5 minutes early.

    • EDG

      Agree, it’d be nice to know a few minutes ahead of time when it’ll arrive. There’s a history of concern with transparency as far as buses running behind or not on time even though Metro drivers stop to retime themselves more than buses I’ve ridden in other cities.