Frequently Asked Questions

SORTA is considering balancing the budget using reserve funds as revenues are projected to be $3.8 million less than expenses.

Additionally, Metro continuously looks for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue, including:

  • Restructuring three unproductive routes in December 2017 to cut costs and attract more riders
  • Elimination of some open positions
  • Disposal of obsolete/under-used equipment including two vintage trolley buses
  • Deferral of capital projects
  • Bus stop balancing project

If a sales tax levy is passed to provide funding to Metro, what happens to the earnings tax will be up to the city of Cincinnati to decide.

A sales tax of 0.6 percent or greater would allow Metro to extend some of its routes, creating more transit options for those living farther from downtown.

While the vast majority of peer transit systems, including Columbus, are funded by countywide or regional sales taxes, Metro receives local funding through a city earnings tax. The revenue received from the earnings tax has not kept up with inflation or the rising cost of operating a transit system.

Expanded service means better service for all of our riders. Commuters from the county would benefit greatly from the addition of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which would allow them to move from downtown to the suburbs quickly and with ease.

In the years immediately following the 2008 economic decline, Metro faced a sharp decrease in funding as the city’s earnings tax provided less money. As a result, Metro had to cut about 20 percent of service and, in 2009, raise fares on riders. The combined effect was a decrease in ridership that continues to today.

Metro staff have been studying BRT systems in cities across the country to determine what aspects work well and what features we may not need. Our plan takes the best of what we have seen elsewhere and applies it to the Cincinnati region.

If the levy Metro is seeking is not passed in March, Metro will be forced to make difficult decisions regarding service. Current service levels cannot be maintained if more secure funding is not found.