CLEVELAND -- The Board of Trustees of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will review a 2016 proposed budget at its committee meeting Tuesday, Dec 1.
The budget suggests that a fare increase may be needed in 2016. By law, RTA must adopt a balanced budget. RTA traditionally has, and continues to exhibit, strong and effective financial management.
While the cost of most products or services go up annually, RTA fares are typically increased only every 6 years or so. Fares have not been increased since 2009. If fares are increased, it would be the first in seven years.
Importantly, several million dollars in grants received in previous years expire and will not be available in 2016 and beyond.
No final decision will be made on changes to fares until after public hearings are held, likely in February or March of 2016, and after deliberation by the Board of Trustees.
What is proposed
- Increase regular fares by 25 cents, from $2.25 to $2.50.This is about 1.5 percent per year for the last 7 years. The cost-of-living has increased more than 2 percent annually.
- Adjust fares related to the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) act for ADA customers using Paratransit vehicles. Fares on Paratransit vehicles are allowed to be double that of regular service, according to federal ADA rules, but RTA has typically charged the same fare as regular service. The proposed fare increase for customers using Paratransit service is $1.25 (from $2.25 to $3.50). It costs RTA more than $40 to provide a ride on a Paratransit vehicle.
- Adjust fares for ADA customers who ride regular services. Currently they ride free, but with this proposal, they would pay the Senior/Disabled fare of 50 percent of the adult regular fare, or $1.25.
The only alternative to a fare increase would be to further reduce needed services. Some service reductions are likely in 2016.
Over the past 7 years
- The cost-of-living has increased by more than 2 percent annually.
- Social Security Payments have been adjusted for the cost-of-living each year.
- Downtown parking rates have increased by 32 percent.
- The State of Ohio’s investment in public transit has been reduced by $10 million. The State of Ohio provides less than 1 percent of the funding needed for RTA.
- Federal investment in RTA has been reduced.