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Metro looks to make some service changes in 2023

Bill Rinehart
Metro is entering Phase Two of the Reinventing Metro effort.

Metro is getting ready to launch an on-demand service. Spokesman Pat LaFleur says around March or April, the transit authority will start Metro Now.

"You will use an app to hail a Metro Now vehicle that will come to your location and deliver you to the location that you choose," says LaFleur, adding that Metro Now will start in Northgate and Springdale.

"Springdale was chosen because it, believe it or not, has the highest infant mortality rate in the state of Ohio," he says. "So we saw that as an opportunity to help folks connect with health care in that community."

LaFleur says Northgate was selected because of proximity to jobs, and Metro's fixed route network.

Metro is also studying rapid transit routes and could have some conclusions by the end of the first quarter. LaFleur says the question is which two corridors will get rapid bus transit.

"The study has included four different corridors that we’re considering," he says. "Those are Glenway Avenue, Hamilton Avenue, Reading Road, and Montgomery Road through Hamilton County. We're still working on that study taking a lot of public feedback."

The changes are part of Phase Two of Reinventing Metro, which is funded by a voter-approved sales tax.

Metro is still dealing with a shortage of drivers, but, LaFleur says the transit authority will keep recruiting in 2023. He says it's the biggest challenge Metro faces. "Over the course of 2022 we've been bringing on about an average of about a dozen (drivers) a month. With that, we're competing with folks who have worked with us long enough to go into retirement, so we're obviously working against that sort of count."

LaFleur says Metro is planning more job fairs in 2023 to find more drivers. He says they first started seeing problems with staffing during and immediately after the pandemic.

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.