Public Transit


Cincinnati Metro fare changes mean some bus riders will pay more, some will pay less

Cincinnati Metro Rt. 28 bus pulls up to its stop at Government Square, photographed July 2017.
Posted at 2:18 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-04 15:43:53-04

Upcoming changes in the way Cincinnati Metro charges bus fare will mean some riders will have to pay more while others will pay less.

Starting Sunday, the transit agency will implement a plan officials say will simplify how Metro collects fares.

Under the current fare structure, Metro buses operate in six zones, with varying ticket prices based on which zone riders are traveling to or from. If a rider catches their Metro within Cincinnati city limits, the fare is $1.75; throughout the rest of the county, the cost is $2.65. Outside Hamilton County, the prices vary further.

The new system will eliminate zones altogether and instead operate with three basic fare amounts no matter where a rider catches the bus:

  • Local routes in Hamilton County: $2
  • Express routes in Hamilton County: $2.65
  • Express routes in Butler, Clermont and Warren counties: $3.75 (Metro does not operate any non-express routes in these counties.)

The change means city bus riders will pay 25 cents more per ride under the new fare structure than they do now, and riders throughout the rest of the county will pay 65 cents less.

The change in fares is part of the transit agency's larger Reinventing Metro plan, which also includes route and schedule expansions, among other improvements to bus service throughout the county. In April of last year, county voters narrowly approved an 0.8% sales tax increase to generate more local funding for Cincinnati Metro bus service and road and bridge improvements along its routes.

The Reinventing Metro plan also introduces the following new fare options:

  • $4.00 Hamilton County local service day pass (replacing the former Zone 1 day pass, priced at $4.50)
  • $5.30 Hamilton County Express day pass
  • $7.50 Suburban County Express day pass
  • $10 5-ride Hamilton County local service ticket
  • $2.00 half-fare day pass for eligible riders, including Fare Deal and Access riders, University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State Community and Technical College students, UC staff, and children riders between 35 and 45 inches tall