The Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization (Evansville MPO) was created as the regional agency responsible for the planning process in the Evansville urbanized area. Additionally, the Federal Transit Administration requires that every urbanized area, as a condition of receiving federal public transportation funds, have a transportation planning process. Through a variety of activities and working closely with the area’s public transportation providers, the Evansville MPO meets the planning process needs of the Evansville Area.
Public transportation is vital to the region’s transportation system, offering affordable transportation for those unable to use or do not have access to private transportation. It provides an important service for seniors, youth, the economically disadvantaged, and the disabled populations in our community. Public transportation also provides an economical and environmentally friendlier alternative to the personal vehicle.
In the Evansville region, public transit is provided by the Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) in Evansville, Warrick Area Transit System (WATS) in Warrick County, and Henderson Area Rapid Transit (HART) in Henderson, KY. METS and HART provide service in the City of Evansville and the City of Henderson respectively while WATS offers transit service within the town of Newburgh, and the cities of Boonville and Chandler.
The Evansville MPO established the Regional Transit Advisory Committee (RTAC) in October 2018 with the idea of bringing regional transportation providers together to advance public, private and non-profit transportation in our five county region. RTAC committee members consist of public, private and non-profit transportation providers in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Henderson, Gibson, and Posey counties, as well as business and community leaders interested in advancing transportation throughout the region. All are welcome to attend RTAC meetings.
RTAC meetings are held the 3rd Monday of January, April, July and October, with some exceptions due to Holidays. Meetings are held in downtown Evansville at rotating locations. See the MPO’s Upcoming Events calendar on the home screen of the website for dates and locations of upcoming meetings.
The Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) was created in 1971 to provide public transportation to the citizens of Evansville.
METS provides transportation for the public on 17 fixed routes Monday through Friday. Twelve of these routes are hourly and five run every 30 minutes. METS operates 16 routes on an hourly schedule on Saturday and five routes on an hourly schedule Sunday. The fixed route fare is $0.75 per bus for standard fare, $0.50 for students, and $0.35 for elderly and disabled riders.
METS provides paratransit services through METS Mobility for persons over 60 years of age or those with documentable disabilities that limit their use of METS fixed routes. This service operates at all times that fixed routes service is provided. It operates within the Evansville city limits and three-fourths of a mile on either side of a fixed route.
METS, the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and the Evansville Department of Transportation and Services coordinated to develop a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (Transit Study) for the City of Evansville. The process began in the Fall of 2014 and concluded in the Winter of 2015. The COA is divided into two parts: the Assessment of Existing Conditions and the Five Year Service Plan. The Assessment of Existing Conditions is a review of the current state of the bus fleet, facilities, bus routes/stops, and scheduling. The Five Year Service Plan includes a list of implementation strategies to be completed incrementally over the next five years.
Henderson Area Rapid Transit (HART) was created in 1957 to provide public transportation to the citizens of Henderson.
HART provides transportation for the public on 5 fixed routes Monday through Saturday.The East Gate and Weaverton routes are 30 minute routes that run back to back, stopping at the downtown terminal between routes. The East End and North routes are also back to back routes that stop downtown between routes. The Shopper Shuttle is an hourly route with a stop downtown halfway through the route. The fixed route fare is 50 cents and transfers are free.
HART provides paratransit service through the Demand Respond Program. Demand Response provides paratransit services to those with disabilities and the elderly who are unable to access the fixed route system. The service operates at all times that fixed route service is provided. It operates within the City of Henderson and three-fourths of a mile on either side of a fixed route. Service is available 6 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Saturday. The fare is $1.
Warrick Area Transit System (WATS) was created in 2010 to serve the Town of Newburgh and parts of Warrick County. Since 2010, three new routes have been established.
WATS provides public transportation to the Town of Newburgh, parts of Warrick County, and the cities of Boonville and Chandler on 4 routes. The routes operate from 6 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. WATS also provides an opportunity for riders to transfer to METS at the ITT Campus in Warrick County. The fare is $1. A transfer to the METS bus at ITT is free.
The region has multiple non-profit organizations that provide a variety of services to seniors and individuals with disabilities. Some of these organizations offer transportation services for their clients, including trips to and from programs hosted by the organizations, doctor’s appointments, job opportunities, etc.
The Federal Transit Administration has a funding program with a primary purpose of improving mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. The program is known as the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program and is often referred to as the Section 5310 program after its reference in the United State Code. A specific amount of funds are allocated each year to urbanized areas, including the Evansville-Henderson urbanized area.
The Evansville MPO is responsible for sub-allocation of these funds to local non-profit organizations and/or METS and HART to use for their paratransit service. The MPO distributes the funds based on a competitive application process. The non-profits, METS, or HART can use these funds for acquiring accessible buses or vans or other capital projects that will improve transportation opportunities for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
In order to be eligible for Section 5310 funds, a non-profit organization must be included in the regional Coordinated Public Transit – Human Services Transportation Plan, often referred to as the Coordinated Plan. The plan includes details about the Section 5310 program, regional demographic data, and a list of eligible non-profits in the region. It also includes recommendations for METS and HART to improve access to transit for seniors and individuals with disabilities and future vehicle needs for each organization. See the link below for a copy of the Coordinated Plan.