Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Protest revises some bus route changes



By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ROUTES AFFECTED
Bus route changes and revisions to those changes take place May 30. They are posted on SORTA's Web site: www.sorta.com.
Rt. 10 Western Hills-Price Hill: Add service to Rt. 77 Delhi Express to replace discontinued service on Beechmeadow (weekday rush-hour)
Rt. 32 Delhi-Price Hill: Continue to serve Queen's Tower on Matson Place in Price Hill
Rt. 33 Western Hills-Glenway: Continue to serve Mercy-Franciscan Hospital Western Hills; continue to serve Bridgetown with modified routing (weekday rush-hour only, fewer trips)
Rt. 77 Delhi Express: Add new services to Beechmeadow (replaces some Rt. 10 service) and Cleves-Warsaw (Beechmeadow to Anderson Ferry); continue to serve Anderson Ferry (Cleves-Warsaw to Rapid Run)
Rt. 24 Mt. Washington-University of Cincinnati: Extend every other trip to the Anderson park-and-ride during most of the day on weekdays and Saturdays (replaces some Rt. 26 service; provide limited weekday rush-hour service to U.S. Bank processing center (replaces some Rt. 26 service)
Rt. 26 Beechmont-Amelia: Extend every other Rt. 24 trip to the Anderson park-n-ride most of the day to replace some discontinued Rt. 26 service; add limited weekday rush-hour service on Rt. 24 to the U.S. Bank processing center.
Rt. 75 Amelia Express: Maintain current number of trips; serve UC and uptown on every other trip instead of every trip; extend every other Rt. 24 trip for weekday service back to the Anderson park-and-ride.
After dozens of commuters protested proposed changes to seven bus routes, the board that oversees Greater Cincinnati's bus service Tuesday revised some.

A key change is restoration of some Bridgetown service during weekday rush hours on a Western-Hills Glenway route.. Several neighbors objected to the end of that service at a public hearing last month before the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

The changes begin May 30, affect hundreds of west- and east-side residents and are part of an effort to cut costs and operate more efficiently. It is the first time in more than 30 years Metro has taken a hard look at its ridership on buses and proposed major changes.

"We considered our customers' comments on the proposed changes seriously and are grateful for their suggestions since they result in improving the proposed service," said Benjamin Gettler, chairman of the SORTA board of trustees.

The changes will help make up for a $4.3 million deficit in the total $72 million budget for 2004. More than $1 million already has been slashed by eliminating 15 jobs and some administrative expenses, according to Metro.

In other Metro news Tuesday, there remained less "park" in Anderson Township's park-and-ride service. Parking has become scarce as the former Beechmont Mall is redeveloped, temporarily displacing 200 cars.

Parking will resume later this year behind the mall, as soon as a $2.5 million transit center is built.

E mail jedwards@enquirer.com.




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