I know you've been on the edge of your (fabric, plastic-edged) seat about this: The March Madness of Cincinnati bus routes is in its final days, with the (roughly) north-south juggernaut Route 43 facing off against west side ride-or-die Route 33 right now.
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority's Metro bus service launched the online bus bracket March 21, and it's been a whirlwind tournament ever since. Giants have been toppled. Upsets have occurred. Now we're down to the final two contenders.
Right now, my home route (43) is getting trounced by the 33, with 60 percent of voters jumping on the bus to Price Hill and beyond. But there is still time for a come-from-behind win. It's anybody's ball game but take note: the 33 soundly defeated the mega-popular route 17 in the Final Four. The 17, which travels from downtown through uptown into Northside, Mt. Airy and Mt. Healthy, looked to be a favorite in the tournament, embarrassing the long-reaching 78 by getting 72 percent of the vote in their Elite Eight matchup.
Neighborhoods matter in Cincinnati, and repping your route is a way to show pride in your particular geographic strip of the Queen City. Or something like that.
If you're going to put some money down on this (note: CityBeat advises you not to gamble on a public transit popularity tournament), you'd better do so soon — championship results will be announced tomorrow.
UPDATE: Route 33 won it all, folks, and is now officially the most popular bus route in Metro's fleet. The margin of victory? About 30 votes.