SORTA

Provided/City of Cincinnati

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) continues to insist federal guidelines prevent it from releasing the details about the proposals it has received to operate the city's streetcar system.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Metro's new CEO Dwight Ferrell, on the job 100 days, told  attendees at Wednesday's  Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce breakfast, "We have an opportunity to do something significant here."

New bus sizes

He would like to vary the size of Metro buses to serve people in the most economical way.  Ferrell compared the current Metro to Southwest Airlines. "Southwest flies 100 percent 737s, different lengths, but their fleet is homogeneous. Currently we are like Southwest. We need to be like Delta and others in terms of fleet make-up."

Provided / SORTA

Cincinnati officials could be looking to plug about a $500,000 hole in the streetcar operating budget.  

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which will run the system, now estimates fare revenues will be about $675,000 a year.  That is less than an earlier estimate of $1 million.  
 

Part of the reduction could be in how fares are charged.  SORTA is planning for $1 for a two-hour pass.  Earlier studies were based on $1 per trip.

Some local community groups and leaders are pushing for the creation of a recreational bike trail that would go from Lunken Airport to Downtown Cincinnati, and connect to the existing regional trail network. But the proposed trail would follow an unused rail track on the Oasis line, alongside a track that still carries train traffic, and the company that moves that freight on that track is opposed to the trail. 

Ohio River Way

You have a chance to weigh in Friday on a plan to turn railroad tracks between Lunken Airport and The Montgomery Inn Boathouse into a bike and walking trail.The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), one of several key players in the multi-million dollar Oasis Line project, will hold a listening session so the community can give its voice to the plan. SORTA spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers says the organization has already heard from other stakeholders.

Provided / SORTA

Cincinnati officials now say the contingency budget for the city's streetcar project is estimated to be $1.3 million.  That is up from the $80,000 reported about a month ago.  

Officials updated a council committee Tuesday on the project.
 
“We have better information and more concrete information upon which to project those expenses,” said Chris Eilerman, a city official working on the project who explained the changes.  “Based on that we’ve been able to hone in on better numbers and the result is what you see here.”

provided / Metro

Metro introduced its new CEO Friday morning at its annual meeting.

Dwight Ferrell got his start in transportation as a bus operator in Texas. He says he has a lot to learn about this region and the Metro system.

He takes a cautious approach when asked about how Metro will run the streetcar, internally or through a third-party operator.

"I will be working with the board and elected officials and the community to develop the system that they want," he says.

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

provided / Metro

The former head of Atlanta’s streetcar project is now the chief executive officer of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

The SORTA Board approved Dwight Ferrell as the new CEO Tuesday morning.

Ferrell comes to the Cincinnati area from Fulton County, Georgia, where he served as county manager since October 2013.  Before that, he was the deputy general manager and chief operating officer of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority for four years.

Metro CEO resigns

Jul 15, 2014
Cincinnati Metro / Provided

The board that operates Cincinnati's Metro system is looking for a new leader.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority says CEO and General Manager Terry Garcia Crews is resigning effective immediately.

In a release, the board says Crews is returning to a career in transit industry consulting. Crews was hired in November 2010.

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