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, Access paratransit service, and the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar system in downtown Cincinnati. SORTA replaced the Cincinnati Transit Commission, which operated buses from 1952 to 1973. As of 2015, the agency operates 50 bus routes and facilitates approximately 16 million passenger trips annually.[5]

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
SORTA Metro logo.svg
Cincinnati-metro-41 north-college-hill 2010.jpg
A Metro Route 41 bus heads West on Galbraith Road in North College Hill, Ohio in 2010
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 ridership53,147 unlinked passenger trips[2]
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[3]
Transdev[4]
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 dollars 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]

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 better 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 will no longer provide 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 - 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 to after school jobs. 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 will be 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
Montgomery Express
4 Kenwood - Blue Ash 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
Ridge Road Sunday - Saturday
Silverton - Blue Ash Monday - Friday
Norwood Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush
6 Queen City Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
11 Madison Road - Oakley 24/7/365 Service Bond Hill
Erie Avenue - Hyde Park Sunday - Saturday
Madison Road - Fifth Third Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush
12 Madisonville Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
14X Forest Park Express Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
15 Hamilton Ave. - Mt. Healthy Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
Daly Road
16 Mt. Healthy Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
17 Seven Hills Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
Mt. Airy
Northgate
Mt. Healthy 24/7/365 Service
19 Colerain - Northgate Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
20 Winton Road - Tri-County Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
21 Harrison Avenue Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
23X Northside - Forest Park Job Connection Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
Tri-County Express
24 Uptown - Mt. Lookout - Anderson Monday - Sunday Bond Hill
Uptown - Mt. Lookout - US Bank - Anderson Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush
25 Mount Lookout Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
27 Northside - Casey Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
28 East End - Madisonville Monday - Friday Queensgate
29X Milford Express Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
30 Beechmont Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Bond Hill
Beechmont - US Bank
31 West End - Evanston Crosstown Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
32 Price Hill - Delhi - Sayler Park Sunday - Saturday Queensgate
Covedale - Price Hill via Matson Monday - Friday
33 Western Hills - Glenway 24/7/365 Service Queensgate
37 (Coming 8/16) Western Hills - MLK - Oakley Crosstown Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush TBD
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
West Chester Express
43 Reading - Lockland Sunday - Saturday Bond Hill
Bond Hill 24/7/365 Service
Evendale - Woodlawn Monday - Friday
Roselawn
46 Avondale - Zoo Sunday - Saturday Bond Hill
Winton Hills
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 (Coming 8/16) Western Hills - Northside Crosstown Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush TBD
67 Sharonville Job Connection Mon - Fri Rush Hour (1 AM trip & 1 PM trip) Bond Hill
71X Kings Island Job Connection Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
Kings Island Express Monday - Friday AM Rush
Kings Island - Fields Ertel Express Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush
72X Kings Island Direct Seasonal (Summer and early Fall) Queensgate
74X Colerain Express via Joseph Monday - Friday AM/PM Rush Queensgate
Colerain Express via Banning
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
Lincoln Heights 24/7/365 Service
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

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

Since 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 be eliminated. Transfers are only be available to those that use the Transit app and 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 requires paying the fare difference. Under 5 ride for free with fare-paying rider; 2-kid limit applies.

SORTA Fares
Fare Type Cost Half Fare Routes
Hamilton County Local $2 $1 1, 4, 6, 11, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 41, 43, 46, 49, 50, 51, 64, 78, 90 (M+).
Hamilton County Commuter 2, 12, 15, 25, 30, 38, 40, 77, 81
Hamilton County Express $2.65 $1.30 3X, 14X, 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 Cost
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
2006 Gillig Low Floor 6000 – 6039 6000-6031 are retired. 6032 - 6039 remain in service.
2008 Gillig Low Floor 8000
2008 New Flyer D40LF 8001 – 8024 First order ever of New Flyer buses.
2008-09 New Flyer DE40LF 8025 – 8030 First order ever of hybrid buses. 8026 & 8028 possibly retired.
2009 New Flyer D40LF 9007-9031, 9053-9067
2010 New Flyer DE40LF 9068 – 9070
2010 New Flyer DE30LFR 1001 – 1004 Only transit agency to order these. Used on routes 1, 28 & 50.
2011 New Flyer DE40LFR 1108 – 1114 1113 used on Route 90 as a spare bus.
2012 Gillig Low Floor 1226 – 1245
2013 Gillig BRT Plus 1301 – 1310 Used mostly on Route 90 METRO*PLUS. Can be on other routes on an as needed basis. 1308 out of service, possibly retired due to severe front end collision.
2013 Gillig Low Floor 1321 – 1330
2015 Gillig Low Floor 1526 – 1537 Has WiFi. 1533-1537 use a different transmission than the rest in this series.
2016 Gillig Commuter 1608 – 1622 Used on mostly routes 52X, 71X, and 82X. Occasionally used on other express routes & rarely on regular service on an as needed basis. Equipped with reclining seats, power outlets and WiFi.
2018 Gillig Low Floor 1801 – 1819 1801 retrofitted with factory installed driver's barrier as a test. Has WiFi, revised seats & Power Outlets.
2019 Gillig Low Floor 1910 – 1934 Equipped with Wi-Fi, power outlets and interior camera monitors.
2020 Gillig Low Floor 2012 - 2016,
2018 - 2021
Equipped with improved rear brake lights, flushed windows, on board monitors, and cornering lights. Bus number 2017 does not exist. 2009 was renumbered to 2020 and 2017 was renumbered to 2021.
2021 Gillig Low Floor 2022 - 2026 Equipped with improved rear brake lights, flushed windows, on board monitors, factory installed driver's barrier, and cornering lights. In service as of 2/16/2021.

Current buses in service at Bond Hill

Year Manufacturer Model Series #'s Notes
2009 New Flyer D40LF 9000–9006, 9038–9052
2009 New Flyer D60LF 9033 – 9037 Articulated buses. Used on routes 3X, 43, and 78 on weekdays.
2011 New Flyer DE40LFR 1101 – 1107 Only hybrids in Bond Hill's fleet.
2011 Gillig Low Floor 1201
2012 Gillig Low Floor 1202 – 1225
2013 Gillig Low Floor 1331 – 1343
2015 Gillig Low Floor 1501 – 1525 Equipped with Wi-Fi.
2016 Gillig Commuter 1601 – 1607 Mainly used on routes 42X. Used on other express routes and on rare occasions regular service on an as needed basis. Equipped with reclining seats, Wi-Fi & power outlets.
2018 - 19 Gillig Low Floor 1820 – 1830 1830 retrofitted with factory installed driver's barrier as a test. Equipped with Wi-Fi and power outlets. 1820-1823 are 2018 models. 1824-1830 are 2019 models.
2019 Gillig Low Floor 1901 – 1909 Equipped with Wi-Fi, power outlets and interior camera monitors. 1907 out of service due to crash on 6/29/2021 on route 4.
2020 Gillig Low Floor 2001 - 2008,
2010 - 2011
Equipped with improved rear brake lights, flushed windows, on board monitors, and cornering lights. Bus number 2009 does not exist. The bus originally delivered as 2009 was renumbered as 2020 and sent to Queensgate.
2021 Gillig Low Floor 2027 - 2031 In service as of 2/16/2021. Equipped with improved rear brake lights, flushed windows, on board monitors, and cornering lights. Has factory installed barrier.

Future bus orders

Year Manufacturer Model Series #'s Garage Notes
2021 Gillig Low Floor 2101 - 2130 TBD 30 buses to replace remaining 6000 series buses and some 8000 series buses.

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. ^ "SORTA September 2018 Ridership Report" (PDF). go-metro. SORTA. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ Coolidge, Sharon (October 6, 2016). "Full speed ahead: Streetcar operator will run more streetcars". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "About Metro". Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  6. ^ https://www.wlwt.com/article/issue-7-transit-levy-passes-increasing-sales-tax-in-hamilton-county/32473980
  7. ^ "Developer Data". Go-Metro.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Fall Service Changes" (PDF). SORTA.
  9. ^ https://www.go-metro.com/fare-simplification%7Ctitle=Fare Simplification - Go Metro|website=www.go-metro.com|language=en-US|access-date=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