GM: Thanks for your support in 2013
As we start a New Year, I want to thank each of you for your support in 2013.
RTA completed a number of major infrastructure improvements in 2013. We upgraded the Airport tunnel and the S-curve on the West Side, and continue to build new Rapid stations at Cedar-University and on Mayfield Road. Thanks for your patience.
As our service levels increased for 2013, our ridership responded with growth in every mode. Our operating budget also remains healthy, and we were able to increase service 3.4 percent in 2013 to keep pace with increasing demands. Fares will remain stable for the fourth year in a row.
The HealthLine celebrated its fifth birthday in 2013. Ridership is up 60 percent since service began, and it continues to be recognized internationally for its success and innovative design. The HealthLine has played a key role in the renaissance of Euclid Avenue, with more than $5 billion generated in new development..
It’s really great that RTA is starting out 2014 with so much good news.
- We operated rail service all night long on Dec. 31 – something we have not done for years.
- Our first rehabbed Red Line rail car goes into service this month.
- A new U-Pass program begins at Tri-C.
- And, on Jan. 16, the generous folks at the Cleveland Foundation have offered to pick the tab for your ride. All rides are free that day, as part of the Foundation’s 100th anniversary. We thank them.
This spring, we will open the Cedar-University Rapid Station, and later in the year, cut a ribbon to start the new West Shore Express service on Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood and Cleveland. We will continue work on the Little Italy-University Circle Station on Mayfield Road, and make ready for the return to natural gas (CNG) buses, with delivery of 60 new vehicles in the spring of 2015.
As Cleveland hosted the National Senior Games in 2013, it will also host the Gay Games this summer, as thousands of athletes and visitors see our city for the first time. RTA will play a key role in transporting them, and we ask you to help us extend a helping hand.
My hope is that 2014 will be special for each of you. Happy New Year.
Looking back at 2013 -- a great year for RTA
RTA made significant progress in all areas in 2013. Here’s a sampling of some of the good news.
- The HealthLine – a state-of-the art BRT service – celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. It is ranked as the top BRT service in North America, and the best BRT service in the world for leveraging a $114 to $1 return on investment.
- In May, the Waterfront Line returned to full service, with the opening of Flats East Bank.
- RTA now serves major new venues -- the Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation (Medical Mart). Seven new hotels are now under construction, and RTA will serve them, as well.
- The screen flow was simplified on fare vending machines along the Red Line and the HealthLine to greatly improve the ease of use for customers.
- Captain RTA became a hero to commuters, as RTA responded to the Hollywood filming that shut down key streets, including the West Shoreway.
- RTA provided increased service to the National Senior Games. Each of the more than 20,000 visitors purchased a 4-day pass from RTA. The event pumped more than $36 million into the local economy.
- The RTA Board of Trustees made a huge commitment to the environment, and approved a major purchase of natural gas buses. The first vehicles will arrive in early 2015.
- In December, RTA extended new weekday service to Steelyard Commons to greatly improve community access to this major retail area
- RTA completed two major Red Line projects -- the upgrading of the /majorprojects/s-curveS-curve and the Airport tunnel. The work improves safety and reliability for customers.
- Work started on upgrades to Clifton Boulevard. The new West Shore Express bus rapid transit service should be operating with increased frequency and capacity by the end of 2014.
- In University Circle, work began on a new Little Italy-University Circle Rapid Station. Work continues on the Cedar-University Station, with a ribbon-cutting planned for spring 2014.
- A comprehensive study began about the possible extension of the HealthLine or Red Line to Euclid and beyond.
- RTA launched a more user-friendly Web site. Visits have risen from 10,000 a day to more than 14,000.
- NextConnect was introduced to give riders real-time information.
- RTA’s use of social media grows daily. The year ended with more than 14,000 friends on Facebook, making RTA’s Facebook one of the most popular transit pages in the nation.
- Transit Police introduced iWatch. This application allows customers to send in photos, videos and text messages about safety concerns and issues they encounter while using transit.
- Cameras were upgraded on all trains and added to a majority of all buses.
- RTA joined transit agencies around the nation in educating employees and customers about human trafficking, and how they can help combat it. Human trafficking has been called modern-day slavery.
- Through Dec. 1, trolley ridership is up 33 percent. The Red Line is also popular. August ridership of more than 568,000 was the best month since 1988.
Cleveland Foundation presents fare-free day on Jan. 16
The Cleveland Foundation is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and it is giving a significant gift to the community each month.
In January, that gift is a free day on RTA, so mark your calendars. On Thursday, Jan. 16, all RTA service on the Rapid, buses, Paratransit and HealthLine will be free to our customers. The Foundation is picking up the tab – something that has not happened at RTA for years.
All fare boxes will be covered with bags that day, plus signs that read Thank you, Cleveland for your support. Celebrating 100 years of turning passion into purpose. The Cleveland Foundation has long supported RTA in its efforts to improve Cleveland with quality transportation. The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of Greater Clevelanders, now and for generations to come, by:
- Working together with donors to build community endowment.
- Addressing needs through grantmaking.
- Providing leadership on key community issues.
Jan. 10-19: Q hosts Disney on Ice
RTA provides the best way for the entire family to see Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and all your favorite Disney characters, as Disney on Ice returns to Quicken Loans Arena Jan. 10-19. Park for free at RTA rail stations. Ride the Red, Blue or Green Line into Tower City. From there, use the covered Walkway to reach the Q. You never have to go outside.
All free RTA trolleys, as well as the the HealthLine, serve Public Square. Exit in front of the Horseshoe Casino, and use the Walkway to reach Quicken Loans Arena.
Ride RTA on Jan. 20, MLK Day
RTA service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Many museums will offer free admission or discounts. Most schools are closed, so students have many choices. You may want to buy an All-Day Pass, which offers unlimited ridership until 3 a.m. the next day.
Most museums will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m See a list of attractions at University Circle.
Ride RTA to the ice rink at Wade Oval
The Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle is open Friday-Sunday through March 9. Admission is free. Ride the HealthLine down Euclid Avenue to the Adelbert Station. The rink is a short walk down East Boulevard. For info, call 216-707-5033.
Stay safe this holiday season
Transit Police offer these tips to stay safe on vehicles, at stations and on the roads.
- Pedestrians: Always use crosswalks, obey traffic signals and watch for vehicles. Avoid distractions, like texting or listening to music, on the roads. Listen for vehicles, be alert.
- Everywhere you go: Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Transit riders: Secure your belongings; protect your electronic devices.
- See Something, Say Something: Call Transit Police 24/7 at 216-566-5163, or download the free iWatchRTA app and report any safety or security concerns via text, video or photo.
- Parking: Put your junk in the trunk.
- Check out our Web site: Read more safety tips.