BY ANDREA TORTORA
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEWPORT - Traveling between the riverfronts of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport will be easier in six months, officials with the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) said.
By rerouting buses through Newport and Covington, TANK officials hope to better link the area's three cities.
''We've already got a market now for people who travel throughout the day between the river cities for business purposes,'' Mark Donaghy, TANK general manager, said. ''With the convention center and the aquarium coming, we feel this would be a concept that would work.''
TANK is seeking input from city officials to help finalize routes.
Some Northern Kentucky city officials said Sunday they like the idea.
''Once a reality, people can use parking in other areas and come over by bus,'' Newport Commissioner Jan Knepshield said. ''The whole thing is tying into a mass transit system type thing that is needed.''
TANK officials have three possible routes for the three-city tour. Each is more extensive than the next in service to areas in Newport and Covington further from the river.
The bus path through Cincinnati would be the same for each alternative route: from Covington across the Roebling Suspension Bridge to Main Street, left onto Sixth Street, left onto Race Street and back over the bridge.
Common links in the route's path between Covington and Newport take Madison Avenue to Fifth Street, over the Fourth Street Bridge into Newport, down to Monmouth Street and Riverside Drive.
''I always thought a monorail system between the three cities would be more feasible,'' Covington Commissioner Butch Callery said. ''In the meantime a bus system would be great.''
A river city route could also serve as an entertainment shuttle for those wanting to see the nightlife on all sides of the Ohio and Licking rivers, Mr. Donaghy said.
Pamela Mullins, Covington commissioner, said she's glad to see TANK taking action.
''I'm glad they are recognizing a need,'' she said.
Mr. Donaghy said the bus company also wants to shave time off the commute from Newport to Cincinnati.
In another proposal, TANK suggests use of more direct service to downtown Cincinnati for Newport residents, who now must travel through Covington.
The plan, which could be implemented in 90 days, would:
Reroute buses down Monmouth Street to Third Street onto the Taylor-Southgate Bridge when northbound and southbound form the bridge onto York Street at Third.
Add bus stops on Monmouth Street between Fourth and Third streets. On Third between Monmouth and York for northbound buses; on York between Third and Court streets at Fifth Street for southbound units.
Newport city commissioners will discuss the TANK proposals at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
''We do have a lot of people in the basin that would ride the bus if it were more available to them,'' Mr. Knepshield said. ''Now this will cut their commute and drop them closer to their workplace.''