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TANK set to launch 'most significant change in a generation' to NKY bus system

Changes take effect Jan. 30
Residents worried information on new TANK bus route changes isn't reaching those who need it most
Posted at 11:46 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 11:48:24-05

Bus riders in Northern Kentucky can expect to see some big changes by the end of the month to the way public transit runs in the region, officials announced Wednesday morning.

The changes mean some routes will grow while others will disappear.

The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky will eliminate the following routes on Jan. 30:

  • 1X Houston Rd./Mineola Pike
  • 9 Taylor Mill/Independence
  • 11 Fort Thomas
  • 18X Fort Mitchell/Edgewood
  • 28X Empire Dr./Industrial Rd.
  • 33 Thomas More Pkwy/Crestview Hills
  • 35X East-West Express

Without a significant increase in funding, eliminating the routes with the lowest ridership will allow TANK to boost and extend service on other, more frequently used routes and to establish a few new routes, too, according the transit authority's general manager, Andrew Aiello.

He said the redesign is intended to meet the needs of the growing number of bus riders who typically do not work a Monday-Friday, 9-to-5 schedule.

"A key goal of this process was to give bus riders the level of service that they need for the jobs they hold -- providing essential transportation for essential services and essential jobs that require employees to work evenings and weekends," Aiello said in a news release.

Accessing more jobs, more frequently

The routes with the highest ridership, TANK found while crunching numbers over the last 18 months, tended to be those that serve industrial, commercial or educational corridors in the region. As a result, routes like 1 Dixie Highway/Florence and 25 NKU/Cold Spring will see an increase in service to every 20 minutes on weekdays before 8 p.m. and will continue running past midnight.

Other routes that serve primarily residential neighborhoods, such as the 3 Ludlow/Bromley, also will see an increase in frequency, service hours or both.

Here is TANK's full rundown of route schedule changes.

More service to CVG

One of the most anticipated changes will impact the 2X Airport line, which will provide a direct route from downtown Cincinnati to CVG Airport in Hebron, Kentucky. While the route will no longer pick up passengers in Covington, the shortened trip time means more frequent pickups and dropoffs and later service: every 30 minutes until 1:15 a.m., seven days a week.

Connecting to health care

The service changes will impact access to Northern Kentucky hospitals, too.

TANK will launch a new route, the Covington Health Connection, that will provide direct service between the Covington Transit Center on Madison Avenue and St. Elizabeth Hospital Covington just off MLK Boulevard, with service every 30 minutes on weekdays.

For riders headed to St. Elizabeth Hospital Edgewood, the redesign will extend route 8 Eastern Avenue/Crestview Hills to that facility. The 16 West Newport/Fort Thomas route will be shortened but still reach St. Elizabeth Hospital Fort Thomas.

Both routes 8 and 16 will provide service every 40 minutes on weekdays.

Simplifying fares

The redesign will also bring a fare system restructuring, making all routes -- both local and express -- $1.50 for a single ride. While the Southbank Shuttle has not resumed service since the coronavirus pandemic began last year, when it resumes, that fare will remain $1, along with student fare. Other reduced cash fare-eligible riders will pay $0.75 per ride.