Started in 1973 as a way to connect commuters in Hebron, Boone, Kenton and Hamilton counties, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky has always had one goal in mind—to get people to their jobs.

Deputy General Manager Gina Douthat has seen that mission grow over her 20 years at TANK. “Over the years what I’ve seen is overall ridership increases as gas prices have risen and traffic has worsened,” she says. “TANK has done a really good job of making routes available to businesses that need service and communities changing with the times.”

The newest routes are in Boone County, where Douthat says big employers like the new Amazon cargo hub at CVG created a need for getting people to the area for jobs. “We work with businesses a lot to determine business needs in the community from a transit standpoint, making sure that our routes are meeting the needs of employer work shift and getting people to jobs,” says Douthat.

In addition to adding routes to the area, TANK has also added trips, meaning the bus arrives more frequently. Douthat sees this as a big part of TANK’s service to the community, since the bus is often the only option for many Northern Kentucky residents. “We want to do our best with the schedule,” she says.

TANK has also helped people get from one side of the Ohio River to the other. Douthat says the warehouse jobs in Northern Kentucky draw workers from Cincinnati as well, although that hasn’t always been the trend. “When I started at TANK, primarily our ridership was going from urban communities in Northern Kentucky to downtown Cincinnati for jobs. Now, a lot of businesses are moving to other areas of the community, so we’ve changed the way we’ve served the community over those 20 years and we’re putting more of an emphasis on service to jobs outside of the downtown area.” Many of the riders, she says, come from Metro routes and switch to TANK downtown.

While jobs are the biggest focus for TANK, education is also a big part of what they do. Douthat says students account for a lot of TANK’s ridership. “Ninety percent of the people riding TANK are riding the bus to jobs or to schools. They’re taking it to NKU or Gateway or to get to work,” she says. “TANK is a partner in the economic development and workforce world. Access is the reason we’re here. Incrementally we’re filling that need as we can.”

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