METRO's Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center is more than a place for people to get on or off buses. Click on the headings below to learn what's going on behind the scenes on South Broadway Street!
The Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center is located at 631 S. Broadway Street, Akron, Ohio 44311, on 8.4 acres of property. The east side of the property is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks.
Property for the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center was donated by the City of Akron. This in-kind contribution met more than half of the requirements for matching funds needed to receive the federal grant for this project. The October 22, 2007 groundbreaking and subsequent construction led to completion of the center for a January 5, 2009 dedication and January 18, 2009 start of service.
May 16, 2012 marked the Transit Center's renaming after METRO Executive Director Robert K. Pfaff, who began his 38-year career with METRO as a bus operator and served as executive director from 1995 to 2012.
Design of the facility was awarded to Akron’s GPD Group, assisted by the nationally recognized firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Summit Construction of Akron was awarded management of the project and general construction was by Towne Center Construction with more than 15 separate companies working on the site.
The Center cost approximately $17.2 million in combined local, state, and federal funds. Federal funding accounted for $12 million of the necessary funds, with $2 million being contributed by ODOT. The City of Akron contributed the ground for the facility — appraised at $2.3 million — representing 65 percent of the required local match.
Approaching the property from the south, the glass-and-steel construction of this gateway facility leads onto a view of the downtown Akron area. The structure makes a dramatic, forward-looking architectural statement about public transportation as well as the continuing growth of downtown Akron.
Sleek canopies over the bus berths and a similar roofline design for the main building provide a streamlined look and feel to the Center.
Since METRO’s creation in 1969, passenger transfers had been made streetside in downtown Akron. The 19,800-square-foot Transit Center provides off-street transfers, eliminating the need for passengers to cross a busy city street in order to change buses.
The climate-controlled Transit Center offers an enclosed waiting area for 300 people. The building also houses METRO Customer Service representatives, restrooms, vending machines, an ATM, storage, office space, Greyhound Bus service, a cafe, and security in the form of more than 90 cameras plus a combined METRO Transit Police and Akron Police Department substation.
A Community Room offers meeting space for METRO functions as well as nonprofit organizations. Arrangements to use this community Room are made through METRO’s Communications and Marketing Department.
Downtown Akron is Summit County’s largest transit destination and transfer point. Approximately 5,000 public transit passengers travel to downtown Akron each weekday: workers, students, entertainment users, shoppers, and those in transit to other locations. Sixty percent of all METRO bus-to-bus transfers (more than 2,000 daily) occur downtown. Looking to the future, expanded tenants in this facility may include the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and regional passenger rail service.
At the Transit Center, passengers are within less than a half-mile of the ever-expanding Towpath hike-and-bike trail. Bike racks already installed on all METRO line-service buses allow passengers to transport a bike to the Center and from there, it is a short ride to the bike path’s route through downtown Akron.
In September 2016, construction began on a 3,900-square-foot addition at the Transit Center. It was completed one year later in September 2017. The $1.5 million project includes a new Security Office, employee restrooms, an additional Community/Meeting Room with capacity for audio/visual presentations, office space that enables METRO staff to work closer to the front line operation, and additional storage space to meet code compliance. The existing security camera system also was updated and expanded throughout the Transit Center and into the addition.
The Transit Center was granted the coveted Gold LEED Certification for environmentally friendly construction in April 2010. The U.S. Green Building Council recognized the Center’s construction practices and facility design, which reflect Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
In the Transit Center's first year of operation, the rooftop solar panels provided nearly 20 percent of the electric energy consumed there. In addition, 134 Energy Credits were sold to Duke Energy in southwestern Ohio at the going price of $450 per credit unit, creating an unexpected income of $60,300 during the first year of the Transit Center's operation.
The 19,800-square-foot building has canopies extending over the front 15 feet of each bus berth. The pull-in layout for the berths improves pedestrian safety.
The building was designed to include alternative energy, heating, and cooling systems. One of the goals of the project from the beginning was to be an example of environmentally friendly design and sustainable building practices. This includes collecting rain water in 20,000-gallon underground containers for use in toilets and landscaping.
Among other green elements of the facility are one of the largest single arrays of solar panels in the State of Ohio and 45 geothermal wells (each more than 300 feet deep) for heating and cooling. This is one of the largest geothermal fields in Summit County. Recycled materials were used wherever possible in constructing the building, particularly recycled concrete. Approximately 75 percent of the construction scrap material has been recycled.
METRO SCAT vehicles may also use this location for passenger transfers when appropriate.
Art exhibit space includes secure glass display cases as well as secure locations for sculpture and larger hanging works. This allows local artists and groups to present exhibits and showings in the facility. Arrangements for exhibiting works of art at the Transit Center are made through METRO’s Communications and Marketing Department.