CINCINNATI — Metro buses will be free to ride four of the next eight weekends, as part of the region's larger efforts to make coronavirus vaccines more easily accessible to those who cannot easily drive themselves to an appointment.
Working in tandem with the Health Collaborative's "Get Out the Vax" campaign, all bus routes -- including on Metro's paratransit service, Access -- will be free to ride on the second and fourth Saturdays in April and May. All routes will also be fare-free this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 8-10, for the upcoming mass vaccination event at the Cintas Center.
Metro will operate all routes fare-free on the following dates:
- Thursday, April 8
- Friday, April 9
- Saturday, April 10
- Sunday, April 11
- Saturday, April 24
- Sunday, April 25
- Saturday, May 8
- Sunday, May 9
- Saturday, May 22
- Sunday, May 23
Metro CEO and general manager Darryl Haley said the bus service plays a critical part in helping people in underserved communities access the vaccine.
"Transportation plays a key role in ensuring all eligible populations have equal access to COVID-19 vaccinations," said Metro CEO and general manager Darryl Haley, in a news release Tuesday. "We're proud to be able to support the effort by removing this hurdle and providing free rides."
This weekend also will be the second mass vaccination event for which Metro has provided free bus fare across its entire system. In mid-March, the Cintas Center held its first event.
Cincinnati Metro routes 4, 31, 51 and MetroPlus directly serve the Cintas Center.
Like last month, Metro will also provide shuttle service from bus stops serving the Cintas Center to assist those for whom the walk from the bus stop to the site's entrance might be a challenge. That shuttle will pick up from the Metro bus stops located at Montgomery Road and Dana Avenue, at Woodburn and Dana avenues and at the Xavier University C-2 parking lot. Those shuttles will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
The fare-free days will be subsidized by the "Rides for Community Immunity" program, which consists of grants distributed by the Ohio Department of Transportation to assist in providing access to vaccination sites across the state.