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TANK Hears from Business Community on Proposed Covington Cuts

The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) continues to accept feedback from the public about its proposed route changes and consolidation.

TANK officials spoke to Covington business owners at a meeting last week.

“With the city’s help,” said TANK General Director Andrew Aiello, “we want to try to reach out and make sure we provide as much information to other stakeholders as we can as well.” 

Ridership numbers have fallen 9 percent in recent years, far less than comparable cities around the nation like Charlotte, North Carolina, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Louisville. Buses with so-called rapid service — which connect areas such as Downtown Cincinnati and the Covington’s Transit Center to job centers in Florence and Hebron with few local stops — have been the exception.

“Transit ridership, throughout the country, and TANK is no exception, has been on a slow and steady decline,” said Aiello. “In the last five years, TANK has seen, every year a one, two, three percent reduction in ridership. Our costs are going up one, two, three percent a year. When that happens over a five year period, the folks that fund us, they say that if we do this for another five years, that gap is going to get even bigger and is not financially sustainable.”

The proposed changes would increase the frequency of buses on many routes to run later and more frequently. Officials are also exploring how some routes would be eliminated to accommodate. 

Originally, TANK proposed the complete elimination of its Route #8 that services the Eastside of Covington. In the presentation at Covington City Hall, a new proposal was laid out where the route would be shared and not completely eliminated. 

“As far as this new route,” said Reverend Richard Fowler, pastor of Ninth Street Baptist Church in Covington and a longtime community advocate, “it would be preferable, opposed to eliminating it all together. Especially for the schools along the route, people going to work or hospital and having access to Cincinnati. One person I talk to has an appointment once a month at Christ Hospital and if she had to catch her bus further from her current bus stop, it would be that much more difficult to navigate.” 

The next public forum, which will be geared towards residents and riders, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10 at Covington City Hall, 20 West Pike St., in the city commission chambers. Concerned residents and bus riders are encouraged to attend.

Written by Kareem Simpson, RCN contributor