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With gas prices high, Metro is offering free fares March 20-26

metro bus
Becca Costello

If your finances are being stretched at the pumps, you could opt for free bus rides around Cincinnati for the next week. Cincinnati Metro buses will operate fare free from March 20-26.

On March 11, gas prices hit a record high of $4.33 per gallon according to AAA. External Affairs Manager Pat LaFleur says the week-long initiative aims to aid citizens affected by high gas prices and introduce new riders to the bus system.

"At the end of the day, we are a public service, and we are supposed to be here to support people when they most need that support," LaFleur said. "We kind of see it as having those two benefits: offering relief in a public service manner, but also using this opportunity to introduce new folks to the exciting things we have."

The Reinventing Metro plan seeks to increase bus frequency on routes, longer hours of operation and better amenities. Hamilton County voters approved a tax levyto pay for a massive overhaul in local transit in 2020. With the possibility of new riders trying out Metro throughout the week, LaFleur says they hope to get a preview of where the transit system is going.

"We're in year two of our five-year Reinventing Metro plan," LaFleur said. "This is really a great chance for us to showcase some of that improved service while also providing relief."

Metro is also looking to make its fleet of vehicles more fuel efficient. Last week, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) received roughly $10 million from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase low-to-no emission vehicles. On Thursday, the city of Cincinnati announced it will only buy electric vehicles from now on as long as they're an available option.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.