Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is the public transport agency serving Cincinnati and its Ohio suburbs. The agency provides Metro transit bus service, and Access paratransit service. SORTA replaced the Cincinnati Transit Commission, which operated buses from 1952 to 1973. In 2021, the system had a ridership of 7,591,600, or about 31,200 per weekday as of the second quarter of 2022.

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
SORTA Metro logo.svg
A Metro Route 41 bus heads west on Galbraith Road in North College Hill, Ohio, in 2019.
A Metro Route 41 bus heads west on Galbraith Road in North College Hill, Ohio, in 2019.
Overview
OwnerCity of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Area servedHamilton County (in addition provides commuter routes from Butler County, Clermont County, and Warren County into Cincinnati)
Transit typeBus, Express bus service, Paratransit
Number of lines
  • 22 local
  • 1 limited
  • 20 express
  • 162 tripper
Number of stations4,465 bus stops,[1] 18 streetcar stations
Daily ridership31,200 (weekdays, Q2 2022)[2]
Annual ridership7,591,600 (2021)[3]
Chief executiveDarryl Haley
Headquarters525 Vine Street, Suite 500 Cincinnati, Ohio
Websitego-metro.com
Operation
Began operationDecember 30, 1952 (as Cincinnati Transit Commission)
Operator(s)MV Transportation[4]
Transdev[5]
Number of vehicles353 transit buses, 46 paratransit vehicles, 5 streetcars

SORTA was funded primarily by Cincinnati's city earnings tax, second by fares, and third by federal sources, with some other minor sources. This stood in contrast to other Ohio transit agencies, such as COTA and GCRTA which are primarily funded by sales tax. For a sense of perspective, the portion of Cincinnati's earnings tax going to Metro's budget was about 0.3%. On May 14, 2020 Hamilton County voters passed Issue 7, which switches the source of SORTA funding to a sales tax. The sales tax in Hamilton County will be raised to 7.8% and the Cincinnati earnings tax is eliminated. The levy is projected to generate $130 million a year, which will be split 100/30 between Metro and road infrastructure respectively. The new sales tax rate went into effect on October 1, 2020.[6]

Revenue of 2017–18 was $510 million.

Downtown Cincinnati is also served by the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK), whose transit services extend over the Ohio River into Northern Kentucky.

RoutesEdit

SORTA operates about 40 major fixed bus routes, as well as a demand-responsive paratransit service. Of the major routes, roughly half run only at rush hours and are essentially commuter services, some of them serving the reverse commute. The other half operate throughout the day, and some offer increased frequency at the rush hours. Approximately 90% of all trips are made on the all-day routes, 10% on the express commuter routes. In 2012 SORTA released its schedule information in the General Transit Feed Specification, making schedules more easily available to customers.[7]

Starting with the 2021–22 school year, SORTA no longer provides direct school bus services to Cincinnati Public Schools. Students will be given bus passes to use on regular service. Students in grades 7 & 8 will be able to ride from 6:00am to 6:30pm on school days. Students in grades 9–12 will be able to ride regular service Monday – Saturday from 6:00am to 9:30pm, to allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and after-school employment. There will be increased service on 12 routes to accommodate the increase of students riding regular bus service instead of the specialized routes. Some routes may deviate off route to drop off students in front of their schools before returning to their regular routing. Two new crosstown routes were added (routes 37 & 65).[8]

Routes 29X and 82X extend into neighboring Clermont County under an arrangement with the Clermont Transportation Connection. Routes 71X & 72X extend into neighboring Warren County under an arrangement with Warren County Transit. Route 42X extend into neighboring Butler County under an agreement with Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA).

SORTA routes
Number Route name Service days Garage
1 Mt. Adams – Eden Park Monday–Friday Queensgate
2 Madeira Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
3X Montgomery Job Connection Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
3X Montgomery Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
4 Kenwood – Blue Ash 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
4 Ridge Road Sunday–Saturday Bond Hill
4 Silverton – Blue Ash Monday–Friday Bond Hill
4 Norwood Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
6 Queen City Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
11 Madison Road – Oakley 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
11 Erie Avenue – Hyde Park Sunday–Saturday Bond Hill
11 Madison Road – 5/3 – Oakley Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
12 Madisonville Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
15 Hamilton Ave. – Mt. Healthy Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
15 Daly Road Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
15 Daly Road via Belmont Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
16 Mt. Healthy Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
17 Seven Hills Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
17 Mt. Airy Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
17 Northgate Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
17 Mt. Healthy 24/7/365 Service Queensgate
19 Colerain – Northgate Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
20 Winton Road – Tri-County Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
21 Harrison Avenue Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
23X Tri-County Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
24 Uptown – Mt. Lookout – Anderson Monday–Sunday Bond Hill
24 Uptown – Mt. Lookout – US Bank – Anderson Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
25 Mount Lookout Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
27 Northside – Casey Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
28 East End – Madisonville Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
28 River Road to Amazon Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
29X Milford Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
30 Beechmont Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
30 Beechmont – US Bank Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
31 West End – Evanston Crosstown Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
32 Delhi – Sayler Park Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
32 Covedale – Price Hill via Matson Monday–Friday Queensgate
33 Western Hills – Glenway 24/7/365 Service Queensgate
37 Western Hills – MLK – Oakley Crosstown Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
38 Glenway Crossing – Uptown Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
40 Montana Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
41 Glenway Crossing – Mt. Airy – Oakley Crosstown Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
42X West Chester Job Connection Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
42X West Chester Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
43 Reading – Lockland Sunday–Saturday Bond Hill
43 Bond Hill 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
43 Evendale – Woodlawn Monday–Friday Bond Hill
43 Roselawn Monday–Friday Bond Hill
46 Zoo – Winton Terrace Sunday–Saturday Bond Hill
49 Fairmount – English Woods Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
50 Sayler Park – Addyston Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
51 Glenway Crossing – Uptown – Hyde Park Crosstown 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
52X Harrison Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
64 Glenway Crossing – Westwood Sunday–Saturday Queensgate
65 Western Hills – Northside Crosstown Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
67 Sharonville Job Connection Monday–Friday Rush Hour (1 AM trip & 1 PM trip) Bond Hill
71X Kings Island Job Connection Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
71X Kings Island Express Monday–Friday AM Rush Queensgate
71X Kings Island – Fields Ertel Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
74X Colerain Express via Joseph Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
74X Colerain Express via Banning Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
75X Anderson Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
77 Delhi Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
78 Springdale – Vine Sunday–Saturday Bond Hill
78 Lincoln Heights 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
81 Mount Washington Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
82X Eastgate Express Monday–Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
85 Riverfront Parking Shuttle Monday–Friday Queensgate
90 Metro*Plus – Kenwood Monday–Friday Queensgate
Supplemental/Seasonal Routes
Number Route name Service days Garage
4 Kenwood via Walnut Hills High School Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
4 Amberley Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
4 Norwood via Walnut Hills High School Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
4 Ridge Road via Walnut Hills High School Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
11 Madison Road – Oakley via Duck Creek Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
24 Zoo – Mt. Lookout – Anderson Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Bond Hill
31 West End – Evanston Crosstown via Walnut Hills HS Monday – Friday AM/PM Rush (Fall, Winter, Spring) Queensgate
41 Glenway Crossing – Mt. Airy – Oakley Crosstown via Belmont Monday – Friday (Fall, Winter, Spring) Queensgate
72X Kings Island Direct Sunday – Saturday (Summer and early Fall) Queensgate

Stops and stationsEdit

 
Located on Fifth Street between Walnut and Main in Cincinnati, Government Square serves as Metro's downtown transit hub.

Most of SORTA's roughly 5,000 stops are simply marked with a sign on a pole listing routes the stop serves, and are fairly infrastructure-light. Several dozen stops include bus shelters and covered benches. Several suburban stops are park-and-rides. Government Square is the main transit station, located downtown near Fountain Square. SORTA owns and operates the Riverfront Transit Center though it's only used for a layover point for the Metro*Plus route and a stop for route 85.

FaresEdit

On April 4, 2021, Metro introduced a simpler fare structure.[9] With this new fare model, base fare increased 25 cents to $2 per ride on all local routes & school Xtras. Express buses are $2.65 within Hamilton County. Certain express routes turned into commuter routes and have a $2 fare. Express routes that go into Butler, Clermont, and Warren County have a fare of $3.75. Zone fares and paper transfers were eliminated. Transfers are only available to those using the Transit app and to 5-ride ticket users. There are several day pass options available to purchase. Mobile fares must be purchased through the Transit app. Refer to the charts for more information. Transfers to higher-cost service require payment of the fare difference. Children under 5 ride for free with a fare-paying rider; a limit of 2 children applies.

SORTA fares
Fare type Price Half fare Routes
Hamilton County Local $2 $1 1, 4, 6, 11, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 37, 41, 43, 46, 49, 50, 51, 64, 65, 78, 90 (M+).
Hamilton County Commuter 2, 12, 15, 25, 30, 38, 40, 77, 81
Hamilton County Express $2.65 $1.30 3X, 23X, 29X, 52X, 72X, 74X, 75X
Suburban County Express (Butler, Clermont, Warren) $3.75 $1.85 42X, 71X, 82X
Riverfront Parking Shuttle $0.50 $0.25 85
Access Fare $4
SORTA passes
Fare type Price
Hamilton County Local & Commuter 24-Hour Pass $4
Metro/TANK 24-Hour Pass $5
Hamilton County Express 24-Hour Pass $5.30
Suburban County Express 24-Hour Pass $7.50
5-ride Hamilton County Local & Commuter Service Ticket $10
Half Fare 24-Hour Pass (Child Fare, Fare Deal, UC, Cincinnati State) $2
Hamilton County Local 30-day Pass $80
Hamilton County Express 30-day Pass $105
Metro/TANK 30-day Pass $105
Suburban County Express 30-day Pass $150

Paper transfers are no longer be issued as of 4/10/2021. Zone fare was eliminated on 4/4/2021.

Garages and fleetEdit

SORTA operates about 350 buses on fixed routes, and about 50 smaller vehicles as part of their demand responsive services. All vehicles in SORTA's fleet are ADA accessible. On average, vehicles in the fixed route fleet are 6.9 years old, and in the demand-responsive fleet 1.4 years. Vehicles in the fixed route fleet are rated, on average, for a capacity and 65 passengers, both sitting and standing.[10]

All fixed-route buses have a bike rack mounted on the front with room for two bicycles.

Garages

  • Queensgate Garage 1401 Bank Street, Cincinnati, OH 45214
  • Bond Hill Garage 4700 Paddock Road, Cincinnati, OH 45229

Current buses in service at Queensgate

Year Manufacturer Model Series #'s Notes
2008 New Flyer D40LF 8001–8024 First order ever of New Flyer buses. 8006, 8018 & 8019 still active. All others retired.
2009 New Flyer D40LF 9007–9031, 9038–9067 9045–9067 still active. All others currently in contingency fleet.
2010 New Flyer DE40LF 9068–9070
2010 New Flyer DE30LFR 1001–1004 Only transit agency to order these. Typically used on routes 1, 28 and 50 Monday-Friday. 1002 retired.
2011 New Flyer DE40LFR 1108–1114 1113 is painted in colors that 1301-1310 has, as this was used on route 90 exclusively until 11/26/21.
2012 Gillig Low Floor 1226–1245
2013 Gillig BRT Plus 1301–1310 Originally used exclusively on route 90. As of 11/26/21, the METRO*PLUS logos have been removed and now these are used on any route. 1308 retired due to severe front end collision.
2013 Gillig Low Floor 1321–1330
2015 Gillig Low Floor 1526–1537 Equipped with Wi-Fi. 1533–1537 uses an Allison transmission.
2016 Gillig Commuter 1608–1622 Used on express routes. Sometimes used on regular service on an as needed basis. Equipped with reclining seats, power outlets and Wi-Fi.
2018 Gillig Low Floor 1801–1819 1801 retrofitted with factory installed driver's barrier. 1810 out of service.
2019 Gillig Low Floor 1910–1934
2020–21 Gillig Low Floor 2012–2016, 2018–2021 2017 does not exist. 2009 was renumbered to 2020 and 2017 was renumbered to 2021.
2020–21 Gillig Low Floor 2022–2026 In service in December 2020.
2021 Gillig Low Floor 2155–2170 All in service as of 12/7/2021. These have Allison transmissions and upgraded exterior cameras.

Current buses in service at Bond Hill

Year Manufacturer Model Series #'s Notes
2009 New Flyer D40LF 9000–9006 9000 active. All others in contingency fleet.
2011 New Flyer DE40LFR 1101–1107 Only hybrids in Bond Hill's fleet.
2011 Gillig Low Floor 1201
2012 Gillig Low Floor 1202–1225 1220 out of service due to collision with garbage truck
2013 Gillig Low Floor 1331–1343
2015 Gillig Low Floor 1501–1525
2016 Gillig Commuter 1601–1607 Used on express routes. Sometimes used on regular service on an as needed basis. Equipped with reclining seats, Wi-Fi and power outlets.
2018–19 Gillig Low Floor 1820–1830 1830 retrofitted with factory installed driver's barrier. 1820–1823 are 2018 models. 1824–1830 are 2019 models.
2019 Gillig Low Floor 1901–1909
2020 Gillig Low Floor 2001–2008, 2010–2011 2009 does not exist. The bus originally delivered as 2009 was renumbered as 2020.
2020–21 Gillig Low Floor 2027–2031 In service in December 2020.
2021 Gillig Low Floor 2140–2154 In service as of 11/7/2021. These have Allison transmissions and upgraded exterior cameras.

Future bus orders

Year Manufacturer Model Series #'s Garage Notes

See alsoEdit

Adjacent public transit agencies:

Other major public transit agencies in Ohio:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "SORTA's current GTFS feed data". Go-Metro.com. SORTA. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Second Quarter 2022" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. August 29, 2022. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  3. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2021" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 10, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  4. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2013" (PDF). Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. 2014. p. 19. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Coolidge, Sharon (October 6, 2016). "Full speed ahead: Streetcar operator will run more streetcars". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  6. ^ "Issue 7: Transit levy passes, increasing sales tax in Hamilton County". 14 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Developer Data". Go-Metro.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Fall Service Changes" (PDF). SORTA.
  9. ^ "Fare Simplification – Go Metro". www.go-metro.com. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  10. ^ "National Transit Database". National Transit Database. Federal Transit Administration. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.

External linksEdit