CINCINNATI — Metro buses will no longer specifically provide direct service for Cincinnati Public Schools, meaning students will no longer ride student-specific buses — they’ll be traveling with other bus passengers of all kinds.
The change was announced at Tuesday’s Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority meeting.
"This solution avoids having to reduce or delay service that was promised to Hamilton County,” a SORTA spokesperson wrote in a Wednesday statement. “It provides more options for student riders and our broader community, while boosting service reliability."
But Akira Litman, a Metro driver who has children in CPS, said Wednesday she was stunned and upset by the decision.
As a parent, she doesn’t want her children riding with commuters, and she’s worried about children struggling to navigate the Metro system in order to reach their schools.
“You know, just two, three weeks away from when the school year is supposed to start, that is extremely shocking,” she said. “It's really frustrating to think about this stress is going to be put on the kids — not just my kids, but the kids in general. This is going to make some of them have 10-12 hour days just getting back and forth to school.”
As a driver, Litman added, she’s concerned about her colleagues having to supervise children while focusing on the roads.
"It wasn't thought through with the kids in mind,” she said. “It was thought through the wrong standpoint. They didn't put it from the kids or parents perspective."
Cincinnati Public Schools released a statement saying, in part: “Elimination of the extra routes may resolve an operating challenge for SORTA, but it does so at the expense of Cincinnati’s students and families without the consideration of the true impact on their daily lives.”
SORTA will host a public meeting on Aug. 5 to receive public comments on the changes.