A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Red Bikes no longer rolling in Covington, City urges residents to fill out Census form while stuck at home

Covington is losing an alternative form of transportation while the COVID-19 pandemic plays out.

A file photo of the Red Bike station at 3rd and Greenup streets (provided).

With the Red Bike bike-sharing system directed to shut down in the City of Cincinnati, the non-profit says it’s made the “difficult decision” to shut down its Covington stations as well for the time being.

“Our Covington stations are some of our most popular in the whole system,” said Jason Barron, executive director of Red Bike. “But operating a partial system in only Northern Kentucky would have caused confusion for our riders, including potentially stranding someone in an area without service. In these difficult times, it is best to be clear and consistent.”

Red Bike has over 500 publicly shared bicycles with 59 bike-share stations, including six in Covington. Last year, Red Bike became one of the first bike-share systems in the country to add electric-assist bicycles to its fleet.

The non-profit is dedicated to public transportation that, in its words, provides a “low-cost, healthy, and green transportation option that makes Greater Cincinnati a more vibrant and connected community.”

Barron said Red Bike plans to keep its employees during the temporary shutdown and encourages frequent riders to keep their membership active so it can manage the financial impact of that shutdown.

“Red Bike is all about community, and we embrace our small part to help our community stay healthy,” he said.

A few minutes on U.S. Census form = big bucks for services in Covington

Stuck at home?

Fill out the mandatory U.S. Census form. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s the law, it’s confidential, it can be done online for the first time ever, and – most importantly – millions of dollars in federal help are riding on your action in the City of Covington alone.

Some 13 percent of the City’s budget comes from direct federal funding that’s allocated based on population counts, Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith said. It’s been estimated that the City could stand to lose out on almost $22 million over the next 10 years if the 2020 Census is no more successful than the 2010 Census in making sure every Covington resident is counted.

“Don’t let the forms you’ve been getting in the mail sit on the counter,” Smith said. “Take a few minutes to fill out the Census survey, and encourage everybody in your friend and family group to do so as well.”

Covington’s challenge is that it has high levels of historically hard-to-count populations: renters, students, senior citizens, children under 5, transients, immigrants, low-income families and racial and ethnic minorities.

But those populations stand to benefit substantially from services funded by federal money, which in Covington’s budget is allocated to everything from emergency home repairs to down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers to first-year rent help for small businesses to park renovation and road repair and neighborhood-specific police patrols.

Health-care agencies in Covington also receive federal funds allocated based on population.

The official U.S. Census Count started Wednesday. As described on the forms and reminders mailed to households in the last few weeks, the forms can be filled out via paper, phone and online, using the access code on the mailing.

As of March 31, some 33.8 percent of households in Covington had responded to the confidential Census survey.

And note that if you don’t fill out the form, the Census Bureau will have to send a Census taker to your home to encourage you to do so.

City of Covington

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