Metro bus service for CPS students to resume in time for 2022-23 school year
With a little more than two weeks before the start of school, Cincinnati Public Schools' board on Monday announced it had reached a transportation agreement with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transportation Authority. The agreement providing free Metro bus service for students ended abruptly last summer just weeks before the start of the 2021 school year.
The new contract does not reinstate XTRA bus routes. "Instead, it replicates the service provided las school year," a Metro spokesperson says. It allows for CPS students in grades 9-12 subsidized rides on Metro busses to and from school, and it also allows students in grades 7 and 8 who participate in after-school activities to ride Metro home after those activities.
A release says some students who ride Metro to school will have one transfer, "at most."
"58% of kids have one transfer, 42% have NONE," school board member Mike Moroski tweeted following Monday's unanimous vote. "KUDOS to everyone involved in GETTING THIS DONE!"
Last summer, CPS said its director of pupil transportation didn't renew the contract for the student-specific XTRA routes. Then-board members said they weren't aware of this decision. SORTA's CEO said otherwise.
Regardless of who was responsible for the inaction, it left thousands of students and their caregivers scrambling to figure out a way to get to class with just weeks before the start of school.
“Transportation is a key component of ensuring our students can get to school safely and on time,” CPS Superintendent Iranetta Wright said in a statement Monday. “I am very grateful the CPS and Metro teams came together to ensure our students will have the most direct transportation to and from school this year.”
“We are proud of our long history of serving students and families and look forward to our continued partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools during this upcoming school year,” added Darryl Haley, Metro CEO and general manager. "We are committed, as always, to providing safe, on-time and reliable service that connects students to classes throughout the city.”
What students need to know
Students should receive postcards with information about their route in the mail before the start of school on Thursday, Aug. 18. Those notices will also serve as students' bus pass on the first day of school; students will then pick up their Metro passes from school.
If students have questions or do not receive their route cards by Aug. 15, CPS says to call its transportation hotline at 513-363-RIDE (7433), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.cps-k12.org/transportation.
CPS will also host a virtual Transportation Information Session for parents on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m.