CINCINNATI — Cincinnatians will be able to hop on any Metro bus for free during weekends all summer in an effort to help ease the financial strain people are feeling at the gas pumps.
Metro's Dump the Pump weekends will begin with the July 4th weekend and run until Labor Day weekend in September.
"We saw such a positive response to our fare-free week in the spring following the initial spike in gas prices," said Darryl Haley, Metro CEO and general manager, in a press release.
Metro provided fare-free rides during a week in March and experienced more weekday trips on average than at any time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership peaked on Wednesday of that week, topping off at 47,115 riders throughout Hamilton County. The week saw an average ridership rate of 44,358, according to Metro.
The fare-free week increased ridership in March 26% over February.
Metro launched a reinvention effort after Hamilton County voters approved a sales tax levy in 2020 that provided the tax-funded transportation organization with a new revenue stream. As part of that resolution, Metro has worked to upgrade buses and amenities available at bus stops, while working to streamline routes and provide riders with faster, more efficient trips.
As part of that initiative, Metro has been working to improve service on weekends, including providing 24-hour availability on seven routes. Two new cross-town routes were also added for riders on the weekends. As part of the improvements, new buses also have free Wi-Fi and charging ports.
Metro's reinvention is still underway, with several more routes and changes planned over the course of five years.