Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky
(TANK) is looking to make some changes over the next several months including replacing their current buses with smaller vehicles that will once again be able to traverse the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge. TANK intends to introduce these smaller vehicles by spring of 2010.
In 2007, an 11-ton weight limit was enacted following a structural analysis from the University of Kentucky which banned TANK buses from using the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge
due to the damage they caused to the 143-year-old river span. The move was seen as a way to help extend the life of the bridge and minimize costly maintenance needed to keep the bridge safe for automotive and pedestrian passage. The move also created a host of problems for TANK's bus system that relies heavily on connectivity across the river and into Cincinnati.
At the time, the central location and minimal traffic using the Roebling Suspension Bridge made for an ideal route for TANK buses. As a result of the 11-ton weight limit some 23 routes, including the popular Southbank Shuttle, had to be moved to other nearby bridges like the Taylor-Southgate Bridge. The new routes have added mileage that has not only slowed service times to and from Cincinnati, but has also increased fuel costs exponentially for the cash-strapped transit authority.
The survey appears to indicate a possible shift in the type of service that might exist between the three primary river cities. Not only will buses become smaller and lighter, but the frequency of service may also be increasing with a heavier focus on out-of-town guests looking to navigate their way between Newport, Covington, and Cincinnati's many attractions without an automobile.
TANK is currently looking for input from the community to learn how to best implement the changes that will allow TANK buses to roll across the bridge once again. Until Thursday, October 1, interested individuals are encouraged to take an online survey
that will be used to help define the new service both in terms of its scope and functionality.
Writer: Randy A. SimesPhotography by Scott Beseler
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