Photos: TANK Reopens Renovated Transit Center in Covington
To get an idea of how busy the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky's Covington Transit Center is, one need look no further than Wednesday's ceremony celebrating the center's newly completed renovation.
TANK general manager Andrew Aiello was interrupted no fewer than a dozen times during his brief speech as he paused to allow the noisy buses to pass.
488 buses pass through the center in downtown Covington each day, according to TANK board chair Ed Kuehne. That's a significant portion of the 11,000 daily passengers for the entire system that serves Kenton, Campbell, and Boone Counties.
"This is a huge asset to our region. This is an important day for our region and this city," Aiello said to a crowd of a couple dozen political and civic leaders inside the renovated center that reopened at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. It had been closed since May.
TANK described the center as "a dark, inaccessible space" prior to the months-long renovation process that revealed "a brighter, more accessible space that will improve the transit experience for the thousands of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati customers that use it each day."
There are now designated bays for boarding with a new saw-tooth sign, improved signage inside and around the center, bright lighting for safety, an information booth, and enhanced accessibility for seniors and riders with disability who can use a raised passenger platform.
The Covington Transit Center is TANK’s main Northern Kentucky transfer facility. It sits within the Kenton County parking garage between Third Street and RiverCenter Boulevard to the south and north, and Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard to the west and east, across from the Northern Kentucky Convention Center and the Kenton County courthouse.1,200 people use the Covington Transit Center as their on/off stop or transfer point every weekday.
The Covington Transit Center was originally opened in 1998, on the ground floor of the Kenton County parking garage, as TANK’s main transfer facility and has remained primarily untouched since then.
TANK used federal capital funds (FTA) to complete the renovation.
"This transit hub is TANK's front door," Aiello said. "If we take a step back and think about what is happening on a day to day basis in here, people are going to work, getting home from work. They are going shopping, they are picking up their kids.
"Public transportation is freedom. It keeps us all moving."
"This hub is very vital to the downtown area," said Kuehne, who is also a Taylor Mill city commissioner. He acknowledged and thanked his fellow board members and other local leaders. "Our cohesiveness and our working together brought this about."
"It's humbling, it's exciting to be a part of a community that knows how to get things done," Aiello said. "Private and public entities are investing in the Northern Kentucky core and riverfront, and we are proud to be one small part of that."
Story and photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher