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UC Study Uncovers Gaps In Transit Service

Ann Thompson

A study from the University of Cincinnati Economics Center finds Metro could do a better job of connecting people with employers. The Metro Community Impact study indicates there are 50,000 jobs located a quarter mile away from a Metro line, and another 25,000 jobs that are a half mile away.

Metro spokesperson Sallie Hilvers says workplaces are scattered around the region.

“So while we may serve areas with a general line of our transit service, we may not have the frequency that’s necessary to really make it effective to get people to the jobs that are there,” she says. And she says the hours of service may not be convenient for second shift workers.

“There are jobs out there that people could be filling if they had transit services to those areas.”

Other findings from the study include:

  • More than 70 percent of all businesses in Hamilton County are within a quarter mile of a Metro route, although Metro may not provide adequate levels of service to access some of the jobs.
  • Metro potentially reduces the impact of parking congestion Downtown by about 8,500 spaces, or approximately 25 percent.
  • The top five fastest growing zip codes in Hamilton County in terms of job growth from 2009 to 2014 are all within the service areas for the top five Metro routes.
  • 3.7 percent of potential commuters working within a quarter mile of a Metro route use the service. In Columbus the number is 2.3 percent.

The study also finds while Metro serves 40,000 riders on a weekday, it has less than nine riders on a bus on average.  That number was determined by dividing total passenger miles by total revenue miles.  That’s more than Columbus and Indianapolis, but less than Louisville and Raleigh, North Carolina. 
Hilvers says the study's results will be taken into account as the Metro Futures Task Force continues its evaluations of local transit. The task force is expected to have recommendations in the first quarter of 2016.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.