The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) Board of Trustees has appointed seven local leaders to serve on the Everybody Rides Metro (ERM) Board of Directors. As part of the Reinventing Metro plan, SORTA committed to implementing a transportation empowerment fund of $500,000 per year to support low-income riders through the ERM non-profit foundation.
Beginning January 1, 2021, ERM will subsidize 50 percent of the cost for partner social service agencies to provide Metro fare for individuals in need of medical, social services or work-related transportation.
The newly appointed ERM Board of Directors members are as follows:
- Aaron Bley, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Katie Frazier, Changing Gears
- Kreg Keesee, SORTA Board Chair
- Angela King, The Freestore Foodbank
- Gina Marsh, Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County
- Lisa Nichols, Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services
- Kathleen Wyenandt, SORTA Board Member
“Each bus ride that ERM and its partner organizations make possible is a connection to jobs, health care and other vital human services that help beneficiaries maintain self-sufficiency,” said SORTA Board Chair Kreg Keesee. “As we continue working to reinvent Metro, it’s important to us that Metro is accessible for all.”
The ERM foundation previously discontinued subsidizing fare in December 2016 after eight years and more than 2 million bus rides due to the expiration of funding provided by the former Job Access and Reverse Commute Program operated by the Federal Transit Administration.
The re-launch of the non-profit ERM foundation has been made possible as a result of Hamilton County’s passage of Issue 7, which approved a new 0.8 percent sales tax to fund SORTA, its Reinventing Metro plan and improvements to transportation infrastructure.
SORTA is a tax-supported, independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio and is a government entity. SORTA operates Metro fixed-route bus service and Access paratransit service for people whose disabilities prevent their riding Metro buses. Metro provides about 13.5 million rides per year.