Public transport in Cincinnati is limited to buses and a single streetcar line. While trains do pass through Cincinnati, they are only useful for interstate travel. As a result, most people in Cincinatti get around by car.
Cincinnati has an incomplete subway station, but despite several attempts to convert the subway tunnels into a light rail system, the subway remains inactive.
Public transport in Cincinnati
For those using public transport in Cincinnati, the most common way of getting around is by bus. The Greater Cincinnati region is served by two separate bus services, one on either side of the Ohio River. Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is on the Ohio side, whereas Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) services the Kentucky side.
There is a single streetcar line in operation in Cincinnati, known as the Cincinnati Bell Connector, which runs in a loop from Downtown to Over-the-Rhine. Future expansions have been proposed but no concrete plans have been put into place.
Taxis in Cincinnati
Taxis are available in Cincinnati, although they may not be as widespread as in other larger US cities. It is usually possible to flag one from the street, but it’s recommended to rather phone and book a taxi ahead of time.
Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are also available in the city and are a good alternative to regular taxis.
Driving in Cincinnati
Expats are likely to find that a car is a necessity in Cincinnati as the public transport system is not as well-developed as most other metropolitan areas. While fuel costs in the USA are reasonable, the cost of driving a vehicle can become expensive depending on location, distance travelled and how frequently a person drives.
Expats who already have a driver’s licence from their home country are usually permitted to drive in the USA, as long as their driver’s licence remains valid. It is also recommended, but not necessary, to obtain an international driver’s permit (IDP) in one's home country prior to departure. Even for those that don’t end up using it, the IDP makes renting a car easier and can also act as a secondary form of identification in some cases.
Once an expat becomes a resident of Ohio, they should visit the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles in order to obtain a local driver’s licence.
Walking in Cincinnati
Cincinnati is home to acres of parklands and beautiful scenery, making walking around Cincinnati a popular activity. Due to the city's hilly landscape, walking is largely recreational, although the Steps of Cincinnati (400 sets of stairs throughout the city) are helpful if getting around on foot is a must.
►For recommended neighbourhoods, see Areas and Suburbs in Cincinnati
Are you an expat living in Cincinnati?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cincinnati. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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