For the past two years, HSC has been engaging with bus riders and developing policy solutions that respond to some of the most challenging transportation problems faced by the clients we serve. On Friday, HSC sent a letter to the SORTA board asking it to incorporate our Transportation Empowerment Fund proposal and specific Access improvements into the Reinventing Metro plan. The Reinventing Metro Plan outlines the transit improvements that are possible with new sales tax funding at the 0.5% to 1.0% levels. SORTA officials and other community leaders have discussed placing a sales tax levy on the ballot for voter approval in 2020.
The Transportation Empowerment Fund initiative will offer free or discounted bus passes to lower income bus riders through participating human services and government organizations. We have asked that the SORTA board fund this initiative in the amount of $500K per year.
We also ask that the SORTA board commit to specific improvements to Access service, as funding permits, including:
• Expand Access service to all of Hamilton County;
• Provide automated notice to riders 10-15 minutes prior to arrival time through text or phone call;
• Increase on-time performance;
• Reduce ride times so that rides last no longer than a ride to the same destination using regular bus service;
• Provide door-to-door service upon request;
• Ensure that Access and regular bus service meet ADA standards;
• Provide quarterly progress or status reports on each of the above items.
We believe these additions to the Reinventing Metro plan will help ensure that public transit is affordable and accessible to lower income residents and people with disabilities.