TANK to hold hearings on bus route changes

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Bus stops along Eastern Avenue would be eliminated under TANK’s proposed route changes. 

Riders, businesses in Covington can weigh in on proposals 

COVINGTON, Ky. - It’s not too late for Covington residents and businesses to weigh in on the proposed elimination of some bus routes in the city and changes to others.
At the request of City leaders, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) has scheduled two public meetings over the next two weeks to gather feedback on proposed changes, with one meeting geared toward businesses and one set aside for residents and individuals.
The public comment period formally ends Friday, but TANK representatives have agreed to extend the period at Covington’s request.
“If you rely on the bus, or you own a business and find that your employees and clients or customers use the bus, this is your last chance to talk about how these proposals would affect you,” said Covington’s assistant city manager, Bruce Applegate. “We appreciate TANK working with us on setting up these sessions to ensure our citizens’ concerns are heard.”
The meetings: 
  • Businesses: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 5 (next Wednesday) at the Kenton County Government Center, 1840 Simon Kenton Way, in the second-floor Commission chambers. 
  • Residents: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 10 at Covington City Hall, 20 West Pike St., in the City Commission chambers. 
The format for the two meetings will be slightly different.
The business meeting will include a presentation by TANK officials on the proposed changes with an opportunity for business representatives to talk about service delivery needs and how the route changes could affect employees, clients, or customers.
The residents’ meeting will include a shorter presentation by TANK, leaving more time and opportunity for individuals to consider individual routes and weigh in, Applegate said. The meeting will feature an open-house format, with individual stations set up where residents can study the changes and then talk with officials one on one.
There will be comment cards, and City staff will be available to facilitate the collection of comments.
“This will be more of a face-to-face discussion, rather than a huge group setting, which we think will make things more comfortable for people,” Applegate said. “Residents can stop in at any point during the two-hour period to provide comments, although the formal presentation will kick off the evening.”
The issue of the proposed changes has arisen at recent City Commission meetings. Applegate said the City asked TANK to set up the meetings because it seemed that a lot of people affected by the proposed changes weren’t aware of them.
The proposed changes are part of TANK’s redesign of its network to respond to budget pressures and evolution in ridership and riding patterns. TANK is funded by allocations from county governments in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties; federal grants; and fares.
Proposed changes
Applegate, who has been the City’s liaison on the issue, summarized the proposed changes affecting Covington: 
  • A consolidation of routes in Covington would remove all bus stops in the Eastside, Austinburg, and Helentown neighborhoods. Instead, those riders would have to walk west to Madison Avenue to catch a bus. 
  • The proposals would eliminate service to Fidelity Investments on Ky. 16, by far Covington’s largest employer. 
  • Residents traveling directly to Northern Kentucky University or the airport used to pick up those buses at central downtown stops or the Covington Transit Center (at Third Street and Madison Avenue). Under the proposed changes, they would need to take a connector route or the Southbank Shuttle into Cincinnati to transfer to those buses. 
  • Direct service to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on James Simpson Jr. Way is being discontinued, and Covington residents needing to go to St. Elizabeth Hospital South in Edgewood would have to make at least one transfer instead of taking a direct route. 
  • The bus route between Covington and Independence would be discontinued, severing the connection between Covington residents and the county seat and between Independence residents and Covington’s restaurants, shops and employers. 
  • The Roebling Point leg of the Southbank Shuttle would be eliminated with the halt of routing across the Roebling Bridge. Pickups would now leave from the Covington Transit Center, and the proposed new route will no longer circle the Roebling Point Square. 
TANK’s presentation on the proposed changes can be seen in more detail HERE. TANK has said it hopes to have the new system in operation by Fall 2020.
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