Hop on the Bus

Hop on the Bus

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Metro ridership will be one of the trendiest things to do for the summer

In the last few months, a gallon of unleaded in Cincinnati has spiked higher than your favorite stilettos.

While the $4 a gallon price is bad news for drivers, it’s good news for Cincinnati’s Metro bus system. According to spokeswoman Jill Dunne, gas prices have contributed to a slow and steady increase in Metro bus ridership. Dunne says not only are individual lines seeing many more riders, but the overall feeling is that bus ridership will be one of the trendiest things to do for the summer.


"Everyone is talking about rising gas prices, but a lot of people feel like they don’t have alternatives. For about the cost of one tank of gas, they can get a Metro monthly pass for unlimited rides," says Dunne.


And make no mistake — riding the bus can be a shared experience, a way to get social during a ride across town. Just ask regular bus rider Katy Crossen.


"Recently, I’ve had several people say, Katy, I want you to show me how to ride the bus," says Crossen. That’s because she’s in the middle of a social experiment. She gave up her car in December 2010, and committed to riding the bus for a year. She only had access to a car on some weekends, and started a blog about her experience.


"I love not having the expense of a car," she says.


Crossen told Cincy Chic the project is helping her save hundreds of dollars, learn about her city and meet people she never expected.


"When I had a car, I saw the same people all the time. Now, when I am riding the bus, I am hanging out with humanity," Crossen recently told Cincy Chic. "It makes me want to do more."


In response to what could be a busy summer with more riders following Crossen’s lead, Metro is doing more, too. Dunne says several new initiatives to make ridership easier are in the works. One is Google Transit, which riders will be able to use by June 1.


"Google is the most popular online mapping Web site in the world and riders can use it to get customized routes to their destination," says Dunne. "It’s accessible by mobile, which is something we know our riders are looking for. It also provides integration with TANK’s system, so it will provide directions from a Northern Kentucky location to a destination served by Metro, like from Newport to Kenwood Towne Centre."


The final step is to renumber and rename a few routes to help better integrate Metro with Google. Dunne says that will happen on May 29.


In addition, Metro is steadily adding more hybrid buses to the fleet. Started in 2009, Metro has 13 hybrid busses. By 2012, 14 more hybrids will join those that regularly ride the routes. Dunne says projections are that the hybrids will help Metro eliminate greenhouse gases by 823 tons.


"Metro just wants Cincinnatians to know they do have a choice this summer," Dunne says.


It’s a choice she says is not only trendy, but also wallet friendly.

Courtesy of Metro