Sunday, June 03, 2001

'Clean Air' means lower Metro bus fares




By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Metro bus riders will enjoy a boost in disposable income beginning Monday when the public transportation company embarks on its annual “Clean Air Fare” summer.

        The program allows Metro to slash fares to 50 cents every day through Labor Day with no added zone or transfer charges, said Metro spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers.

FOR INFORMATION
   • For bus schedules and information, call MetroCenter, 621-4455 weekdays 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or visit Metro's Web site — www.sorta.com.
        Last year, Clean Air Fare saw 427,000 summertime riders board the buses. Metro estimates 433,000 will take advantage of the summertime fare breaks in 2001. Since 1994, an average of 400,000 to 450,000 riders have taken the bus during the summer program.

        “Oh my gosh, it helps,” said Michelle Fleek, 31, of Harrison, who waited for a bus at Fourth and Race streets Downtown. “I pay $3.50 a day now and it will be down to $1 a day. That's a lot, and I ride pretty much every day.”

        West End resident Mary Lavender, 50, said, “anything that saves money is great. It's a fabulous program. It saves me 40 cents a day, so I get a little more money in the summer.”

        The program is funded through a $1.3 million Clean Air Grant from the Federal Transit Administration. About $1.1 million pays for the fare reduction while $200,000 is earmarked for advertising and promotion, Ms. Hilvers said.

        “The program is designed to lure people out of their cars and improve air quality during the smog season,” she said.

        Weekday bus passes will be discounted to $20 for months June, July and August, a reduction from the usual $32 to $56.

        Funding comes from Congestion/Mitigation Air quality dollars made available through the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), Ms. Hilvers said. The program supports the Regional Ozone Coalition's efforts to improve air quality in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

        The reduced fare does not apply to special services such as Bengals Express and Riverfest. Metro Fare Deal cardholders and children under 45 inches will pay the usual discounted 40 cent fare.
       



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