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Greater Cincinnati Metro (SORTA) and TANK News & Discussion

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1 hour ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

We would never call street-running light trail in dedicated lanes with some signal priority "rapid transit".   Yet people wholeheartedly gush over "BRT" in that same setup because it's buses, not trains. 

 

If tracks were laid on the Health Line "BRT" bus lanes, or the new Indianapolis "BRT", would those transit corridors suddenly become "rail rapid transit"?  Of course not.  That's why the use of the term "BRT" is completely and totally preposterous.  

 

 

 

 

 

Agreed, however it is what t is. IMHO, it's just another "Express Bus," with limited access, preferential traffic lanes. Personally, I would have preferred to see light rail traverse Euclid Ave.

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I just got this message on my phone:

 

Cincy EZRide will no longer sell new tickets starting Oct. 23, 2019. If you have pre-purchased Cincy EZRide tickets, begin using them as soon as possible. You have until June 30, 2020 to use all tickets before they expire. No refunds or exchanges will be given.

Metro is launching Transit App with EZFare on Oct. 23. Plan your trip, pay your fare and track your bus in one app for Metro, TANK and BCRTA.

Get more info on this exciting new app
https://tapit.us/MMInI

 

I use EZ Ride all the time.  It works for Streetcar and bus and is pretty easy to use.  I hope the new app is ok and I noticed they didn't say it would work for the streetcar. 

 

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On 10/6/2019 at 8:27 AM, Frmr CLEder said:

Cleveland has offered commuter rail service (the Rapid) for almost 100 years. It has been the only city in Ohio to offer such services, but similar to Cincinnati and Columbus, the state prefers to fund roads versus regional rail service. BRT, a relatively new concept with dedicated bus lanes, were introduced in Cleveland this decade.

I don't see how what you've said here is relevant to the comment you replied to. But in this context it's worth noting Cincinnati is the only city in the state to have actually put rails in the ground in decades.

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35 minutes ago, Jimmy Skinner said:

I just got this message on my phone:

 

Cincy EZRide will no longer sell new tickets starting Oct. 23, 2019. If you have pre-purchased Cincy EZRide tickets, begin using them as soon as possible. You have until June 30, 2020 to use all tickets before they expire. No refunds or exchanges will be given.

Metro is launching Transit App with EZFare on Oct. 23. Plan your trip, pay your fare and track your bus in one app for Metro, TANK and BCRTA.

Get more info on this exciting new app
https://tapit.us/MMInI

 

I use EZ Ride all the time.  It works for Streetcar and bus and is pretty easy to use.  I hope the new app is ok and I noticed they didn't say it would work for the streetcar. 

 

 

I use the Transit app for tracking the streetcar and it's great. Eliminating the EZRide app and putting the tickets in Transit just means that I can use 1 app now instead of 2. I bet the streetcar will be in there as well. I wouldn't be surprised if Metro staff has been told to downplay the streetcar in their messaging in advance of the upcoming bus tax ballot issue.

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20 hours ago, Frmr CLEder said:

Agreed, however it is what t is. IMHO, it's just another "Express Bus," with limited access, preferential traffic lanes. Personally, I would have preferred to see light rail traverse Euclid Ave.

 

"Light Rail" is a very weak term.  If any rail term should have creep, it would be "commuter rail".  We all know that commuter rail almost always refers to passenger trains that share tracks with freight railroads, but for the purpose of winning ballot issues, I don't think there is anything wrong with calling light rail "commuter rail".  The term sends a clear message to the electorate - the purpose of the project is to provide an alternative to driving.  

 

My main criticism of the Health Line is that is just plain doesn't look good or sound good.  Instead of a nice traditional boulevard with transit operating in a landscaped median (i.e. the St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans), there are hordes of speeding diesel buses and plopped-down stations out in the median.  It doesn't look like a classic part of the city.  

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Robuu said:

I don't see how what you've said here is relevant to the comment you replied to. But in this context it's worth noting Cincinnati is the only city in the state to have actually put rails in the ground in decades.

Cleveland built its waterfront line in the mid 90s so that it wrong.

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2 minutes ago, Htsguy said:

Cleveland built its waterfront line in the mid 90s so that it wrong.

 

This is semantics, but isn't 23 years technically "decades"?

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Just now, ryanlammi said:

 

This is semantics, but isn't 23 years technically "decades"?

Could be but it seemed to me he was bombastically saying something like 40-50 years.  At least that is how I read it

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45 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

"Light Rail" is a very weak term.  If any rail term should have creep, it would be "commuter rail".  We all know that commuter rail almost always refers to passenger trains that share tracks with freight railroads, but for the purpose of winning ballot issues, I don't think there is anything wrong with calling light rail "commuter rail".  The term sends a clear message to the electorate - the purpose of the project is to provide an alternative to driving.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rs are really hung up on the idea that rail trips are mostly for commuting and are seldom used for anything else. That's one reason they hate streetcars; they think that the point of streetcars is commuting as well -- then find out that they aren't used for that nearly as much in favor of trips between businesses and apartments. "How is that supposed to save time to Mason?"

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29 minutes ago, Htsguy said:

Could be but it seemed to me he was bombastically saying something like 40-50 years.  At least that is how I read it

Fair enough that that is more recent than I'd been thinking -- I glanced at the Wikipedia page and saw this:

 

Quote

Began operationOctober 25, 1859 (first streetcar line)
December 17, 1913 (current lines)
March 15, 1955 (Rapid transit)
October 11, 1980 (Light rail)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTA_Rapid_Transit

 

Anyway, Cincinnati's streetcar is still significantly newer (and what I said is still "technically correct" -- the best kind of correct) so my point still stands. Cincinnati has also been slapped down by the state's unwillingness to fund rail. In fact, the TRAC board changed the rules from underneath the streetcar as it was ending the planning stages in order to deny state funds. It was the city's resolve and support for rail that ensured the line as it exists was actually built.

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55 minutes ago, GCrites80s said:

 

 

Rs are really hung up on the idea that rail trips are mostly for commuting and are seldom used for anything else. That's one reason they hate streetcars; they think that the point of streetcars is commuting as well -- then find out that they aren't used for that nearly as much in favor of trips between businesses and apartments. "How is that supposed to save time to Mason?"

 

Public transportation advocates tend to not understand that you need to use completely clear and straightforward language to get attention and make a point.  You have to make the argument from a pragmatic viewpoint - that it's the sensible thing to do.  Getting into the weeds with dreamy, vague stuff is asking to get stomped on talk radio.  

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35 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

Getting into the weeds with dreamy, vague stuff is asking to get stomped on talk radio.  

 

The WLW crowd has less and less influence in Hamilton County nowadays, thankfully. Their base has abandoned Kenwood and Blue Ash for the collar counties.

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3 hours ago, Robuu said:

I don't see how what you've said here is relevant to the comment you replied to. But in this context it's worth noting Cincinnati is the only city in the state to have actually put rails in the ground in decades.

Excellent! Long overdue.

 

Perhaps the State will begin to value urban transit versus massive suburban/rural road construction. 

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3 hours ago, taestell said:

I use the Transit app for tracking the streetcar and it's great.

 

How?  All I see are inbound and outbound routes but no vehicles. 

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When you tap on the route and you will see the time with the pulsating lines on the top right. It always seems quite accurate for me and matches up with what is displayed on the stops, so I believe it is actually real-time and not just based on a schedule.

IMG_0212.png

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Hmm but it only shows them for half the route, either inbound or outbound.  Is there no way to just see where all the cars are without having to swipe between directions? 

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In Transit, the "inbound" and "outbound" vehicles are treated effectively as separate routes. For buses this is not a problem (if you want the inbound 17, you don't really care when the next outbound 17 is coming) but for streetcar this is less than ideal since many people ride around the ends of the loop. As far as I can tell, you can only get real time arrival for the next arriving vehicle, you can't see when the following vehicle will come.

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Greater Cincinnati gets new app linking real-time transit info with fares

 

The region’s transit systems are launching a new transit app later this month that will allow people to buy their fares and track their bus in one mobile app.

 

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency’s Metro buses, the Transportation Authority of Northern Kentucky and the Butler County Regional Transit Authority are launching an app called Transit with EZfare.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/10/08/greater-cincinnati-gets-new-app-linking-real-time.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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I don't know why SORTA/Metro is doing this publicity push now, since the Transit app doesn't yet support buying tickets. They should have waited to do the publicity push until Oct 23rd when the app is updated/ready to buy tickets. 

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5 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

I don't know why SORTA/Metro is doing this publicity push now, since the Transit app doesn't yet support buying tickets. They should have waited to do the publicity push until Oct 23rd when the app is updated/ready to buy tickets. 

 

Especially when a bunch of noobs are going to be searching how to buy tickets for Blink.

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On Twitter, the official streetcar account announced that they will ask everybody going northbound to exit at Findlay Market. I'm not 100% sure why they're doing this... but I suspect it's to control the large crowds, and discourage folks from just riding consecutive loops. If somebody is going northbound and wants to get off at Rhinegeist, I'm not sure if they'll be forced to get off at Findlay Market.

 

 

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I had the idea to do something like this-. Have the front two doors open and have everyone alight and then have the back two doors open for everyone to board. Apparently you'd need to re-program the cars for this. 

Image 3- Streetcar Stop with modifications.png

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Realistically if you want to do a "everyone needs to get off" point, it would be better to do it at the Banks. Just extend the platform. Stop at the first platform, everyone gets off (have a railing so people have to walk around so they would have to obviously run if they were going to re-board, then pull forward and board on the second platform. Plenty of room to extend the platform 

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 11.30.40 AM.png

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Hopefully they will allow passengers to stay on board if they are just going 1 additional stop north to Rhinegeist. At Findlay-Elm, they should announce "All passengers must exit here unless you are planning to exit at Rhinegeist. You may reboard the streetcar on the west side of Findlay Market at Race Street to head south towards The Banks." The majority of passengers will exit here. Then at Rhinegeist all remaining passengers should be required to exit. The passengers who want to ride the loop can just exit at Findlay-Elm, walk over to Race and re-board.

 

Hopefully there will be some ambassadors on the streetcar or at the Findlay-Elm stop to explain this. Or else suburbanites are going to be extremely confused.

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They really need people on board to help facilitate this, and to explain to people. The operator shouldn't be fielding questions from behind the door.

 

I think it's important to have this policy since some people will just sit on the streetcar for an hour as it makes loops (which is dumb, but will happen).

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4 hours ago, thomasbw said:

I had the idea to do something like this-. Have the front two doors open and have everyone alight and then have the back two doors open for everyone to board. Apparently you'd need to re-program the cars for this. 

Image 3- Streetcar Stop with modifications.png

 

In Philly, the trolleys (their streetcars are called trolleys) do this in the downtown tunnel. They pull up and everyone gets off and then they pull forward to the area where the westbound passengers board. It makes the whole boarding/unboarding process much smoother than rush hour subway trains where people are trying to push themselves on the train while people are getting off.

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On 10/1/2019 at 2:30 PM, Brutus_buckeye said:

So - what are the odds of this passing? It seems as if it is hated by a lot of people. There is still a ton the County can do to poison the well on this  (such as not letting the Union Terminal Sales tax roll off) as well as if the earnings tax repeal fails in the city.  However, taking things as they are now, is the feeling that this passes ?

 

Welp. Today the Hamilton County commissioners voted to approve a new 0.25% sales tax for county operations that will start on April 1, 2020, the day after the 0.25% Union Terminal tax ends. I was previously under the impression that the county would have to go to the voters to ask for this tax increase, but it is apparently within their powers to simply increase the rate. However, anti-tax groups have 30 days to gather signatures and force the issue onto the ballot. So, we could actually see two separate sales tax increase issues on the March 2020 ballot -- one for SORTA and one for the county.

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Here we go, the worst case scenario is about to happen:

1. COAST trolls their way to getting the streetcar divorce to happen (and oh, what's this? they aren't dropping the issue now that it is happening? Color me shocked!)

2. Sales tax fails as all of the anti-tax people come out to prevent huge sales tax increase in March.

3. County makes more bus route/service cuts (continues to bleed ridership)

4. County can't keep the lights on because the state hates funding for big cities

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40 minutes ago, taestell said:

 

Welp. Today the Hamilton County commissioners voted to approve a new 0.25% sales tax for county operations that will start on April 1, 2020, the day after the 0.25% Union Terminal tax ends. I was previously under the impression that the county would have to go to the voters to ask for this tax increase, but it is apparently within their powers to simply increase the rate. However, anti-tax groups have 30 days to gather signatures and force the issue onto the ballot. So, we could actually see two separate sales tax increase issues on the March 2020 ballot -- one for SORTA and one for the county.

The county has the right to vote up to a .25% increase on the ballot without first taking it to the voters.

 

The big problem with what just happened.

1) they tried this last year only to have COAST organize a large petition drive and convince them into repealing it, which they did. (They should have learned from this)

2) The voters voted in 2015 to save Union Terminal by agreeing to a 5 year sales tax increase and then being promised to have it roll off the ballot. This move betrays their the voters trust. Yes, they are waiting until it expires, but from the avg voter viewpoint, it looks as if the county did not keep their word. This will poison the well for all future sales tax increases. The timing of this ensures as much.

3) COAST is likely to launch a petition drive. The petition drive is highly likely to succeed in getting this on the ballot. Whether it succeeds in repealing it does not matter. The fact it would get on the March ballot would make a larger tax increase much more challenging to pass. Voters could vote against both (likely), spilt the baby and vote for the smaller one (also a likely scenario), vote for both (probably less likely but still a reasonable choice), vote against the county and for the bus levy (probably unlikely). Just having it on the ballot poisons the bus levy.

4) The big plan was to do the bus levy last year, but the county poisoned the well by doing the sale tax increase which subsequently was defeated by COAST. You would have to expect a similar result this time.

 

COAST was probably going to be silent (against it but not overly vocal) on the bus levy. You can all but assure that will no longer be the case with this move by the county

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I'm somewhat suspicious that the county commissioners are secretly opposed to the SORTA tax. We'll likely see two separate tax hikes on the ballot, which almost certainly dooms both. Did they really think they could pull this off, or did they want the SORTA tax (which is essentially a funding mechanism shift, not a tax raise) to fail?

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21 hours ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

COAST was probably going to be silent (against it but not overly vocal) on the bus levy. You can all but assure that will no longer be the case with this move by the county

 

 

The task of signature-gathering at the county level is pretty huge.  Much bigger than city charter stuff.  Tim Mara and Tom Luken led the 1996 effort to put the stadium tax on the ballot after the commissioners simply willed it into existence.  Then it passed anyway, but delayed stadium stuff by a solid 4-5 months, which led directly to the overruns on the football stadium because The Bengals had already entered into a contracts with The Bengals to have their stadium ready by August 2000.  

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2 minutes ago, Ram23 said:

I'm somewhat suspicious that the county commissioners are secretly opposed to the SORTA tax. We'll likely see two separate tax hikes on the ballot, which almost certainly dooms both. Did they really think they could pull this off, or did they want the SORTA tax (which is essentially a funding mechanism shift, not a tax raise) to fail?

 

Yeah, sadly this is all going to blow the minds of the Better Bus Coalition, etc.  This is how things are done in Cincinnati.  Do-gooders are led-along and then smashed.  

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Coast is about irrelevant at this point.They don't have the manpower or political influence too get enough signatures on a county wide issue.Toothless and irrelevant organization.

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1 hour ago, ucnum1 said:

Coast is about irrelevant at this point.They don't have the manpower or political influence too get enough signatures on a county wide issue.Toothless and irrelevant organization.

They were successful in the summer of 2018 of gathering enough signatures to get commissioners to drop the .2% sales tax increase at that time. If they come out strongly and organize, they still pull a lot of weight in the county. They will be out in force in Green Twp, Delhi, Blue Ash, Anderson, etc. and don't think for a second that the suburban housewifes there will not be about signing onto the tax repeal.  If they get it on the ballot, it will pretty much sink the bus levy too.

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That was mostly a ousted ex counry commissioner Chris Monzel's doing.Coast consists of a few fat lawyers who sue the city too fund thier law firm.

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On 10/7/2019 at 11:25 AM, Jimmy Skinner said:

I use EZ Ride all the time.  It works for Streetcar and bus and is pretty easy to use.  I hope the new app is ok and I noticed they didn't say it would work for the streetcar. 

 

I just got this text from Metro:

 

Quote

Metro is launching Transit App with EZFare Wednesday, Oct. 23. Join us at Area E on Government Square downtown from 6:30 am - 5 pm for prizes, fun and the chance to learn more about the new app that lets you plan your trip, pay your fare and track your bus for Metro, TANK and BCRTA.

 

Download Transit with EZFare and purchase a pass of any amount between Oct. 23-25 and  receive a free $5 Metro/TANK Day Pass in your ticket wallet.

 

As a reminder: you can no longer buy tickets through the Cincy EZRide app starting Oct. 23, 2019. Use all pre-purchased tickets before they expire June 30, 2020. No refunds or exchanges will be given.

 

Buy Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar tickets through the Cincy EZRide app until Oct. 30, then buy them using Transit with EZFare.

 

Get more info on this exciting new app at https://tapit.us/4saIn

 

Riding is believing!

 

It's a little bit confusing that bus routes will switch to the new app on October 23, yet the streetcar will not switch over until October 30. I wonder what the back story is there.

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While biking around the city today (Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, Columbia-Tusculum, Madisonville, Oakley, Bond Hill, Spring Grove Avenue, Queensgate, Downtown, East End) I noticed a LOT of "This bus stop under consideration for removal" signs.  There had to be at least 20 that caught my eye, and I wasn't really looking for them either.  I'm wondering what the push for that is.  If they're infrequently used stops, they wouldn't be impacting schedule speed much.  Yes there's generally too many stops in too short a distance, and it can be annoying when someone pulls the cord for the very next stop just a half block away, but does that really happen much, especially on some of these less-used routes?  That should only really impact the heavy-haul lines, and even then the higher frequency of buses reduces the number of stops per bus.  I also don't see it being a cost-cutting maneuver since these stops don't have any infrastructure, just a sign and maybe a sidewalk extension.  There's no benches or shelters or anything else besides the sign that's under Metro's purview to maintain.  

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I'm curious as well. If it results in increased frequency I'm ok with it. If it just ends up with the bus driver taking a break because he's running faster than scheduled than I'm not.

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