Rider's Digest -- April 2018

Fare increase delayed

At the March board committee meeting, the Operational Planning and Infrastructure Committee of the RTA Board of Trustees recommended a 12-month delay in a fare increase scheduled for August while RTA conducts a comprehensive fare study.

The board approved the committee’s recommendation on March 27.

“We need to take a look at the possibility of modifying our fare structure to best assure fairness and equity to our customers,” said Joe Calabrese, RTA’s CEO and General Manager. “It’s critical that we study if there is a way to join with community partners to offer lower fares for our customers with lower incomes.”

Calabrese said that transit systems across the country are reporting a drop in ridership due to reduced gas prices, reliance on Uber and Lyft, and an increase in telecommuting.  “But in Cleveland, while those factors have an impact, the biggest impact on loss of ridership is affordability among those with reduced incomes,” he said.

Poverty in Greater Cleveland is significantly increasing. A recent study by the Ohio Development Services Agency indicates that 36% of Cleveland’s population falls below the Federal poverty level, up from 26% in 1999.

Other cities in the U.S. have had success with subsidized fares for those with lower incomes. In Seattle, for example, recipients of the SNAP card are automatically eligible to purchase a transit pass at a reduced cost.

We hope to continue to provide safe, reliable, clean, and courteous public transportation for all riders, regardless of their income level.

RTA will better serve employment centers

We are excited about a new initiative in which bus routes will better serve major employment centers.

“RTA’s goal is to provide as much first-class transportation service as possible,” said CEO and General Manager, Joe Calabrese. “Every quarter, we tweak route alignments and schedules to provide more efficient transportation, and this spring is no different.”

Route adjustments will affect several of the system’s 52 routes. These changes will improve access to many areas throughout Northeast Ohio. Many businesses will have improved transit service and access.

We hope these improved routes will better serve our community’s needs and help every rider get to work safely and on time. 

RTA to begin service discussions with public

Join us for our first Quarterly Service Planning Open House on Thursday, April 26, at noon and 5:30 p.m. at the RTA Main Office, 1240 West 6th Street.

Topics will include the upcoming service change. We welcome your feedback. 

Now through April 6: give to Harvest for Hunger

RTA is proud to join the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in the fight against hunger with a virtual food drive, now through April 6.

Every dollar you give will provide four nutritious meals for fellow Clevelanders. In 2015, Cuyahoga County had the largest number of food insecure children—over 58,000 kids did not always know where their next meal was coming from. Your support will help alleviate their need.

We thank you in advance for your donation and ask that you pass along the link, www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org/riderta,to friends and family. 

April 4–15: Cleveland International Film Festival

Movie lovers are preparing to head to Tower City Cinemas, as the annual Cleveland International Film Festival runs April 4–15. The film fest will hold more than 500 screenings over this 11-day period.

Last year, over 100,000 people were in attendance, and another swell of crowds is expected this year. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to ride RTA. Take any Rapid line, and you will end up at Tower City, the festival’s main site. Satellite venues, including Capitol Theatre and Cedar Lee Theatre, are accessible via RTA bus lines 26 (to reach Capitol Theatre); and 32 and 40 (to reach Cedar Lee Theatre).

Tickets are available for purchase online until midnight the night before the screening. You may also purchase tickets by phone (877-304-3456) or in-person at the Film Festival Box Office, located in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas. They cost $14 for members and $16 for non-members. Use the code RTA when purchasing to receive $2 off. 

April 7–14: Rock Hall induction fun

Cleveland is hosting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions for the first time since 2015. This year’s inductees include Bon Jovi, Nina Simone, The Cars, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dire Straits, and The Moody Blues.

While the April 14 ceremony is already sold out, the week leading up to it is full of fun activities for music fans of all ages. 

Head to the Rock Hall on Saturday, April 7 for Celebration Day, powered by PNC.

This community event will feature live music, food, the opening of the new “Hall of Fame Experience,” free admission to the Rock Hall, and a fireworks display. It starts at 10 a.m., and the party goes until 11 p.m. Or take advantage of the museum’s special hours on Friday, April 13, when it will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It couldn’t be easier to get there, thanks to the convenience of the Waterfront Line. Simply ride any Rapid to the Tower City Station. Then, take the Waterfront Line to the E 9th / North Coast station; your destination is just across the street. The Red, Blue, and Green Lines operate until midnight. The Waterfront Line operates until 7 p.m.

April 6: The Indians’ season kicks off

The Cleveland Indians’ home opener is Friday, April 6. The sold-out game against the Kansas City Royals begins at 4:10 p.m., but expect downtown to be bustling with baseball fans well before that. Plan accordingly.

Bring exact change and buy a round-trip pass for $5 from RTA staff at select rail stations. Then, ride the Rapid to Tower City. It’s a quick stroll through the Walkway to get to Progressive Field.

Go Tribe!

Let’s hear from you! Brief  survey ready April 9–May 6

RTA asks all bus customers to take a brief online customer satisfaction survey. It is available April 9–May 6. This is the seventh year RTA is participating in a nationwide research program with the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG). Your responses provide RTA with a measure of customer service, identify areas in need of improvement, and allow for comparison to other systems. We appreciate your feedback. A large number of responses, from all segments of the ridership base, will make the survey even more valuable. 

Celebrate our planet

Taking public transit is a great way to care for our environment, but with Earth Day and Arbor Day coming up (April 22 and April 27, respectively), here are some events to attend if you want to show your appreciation in a different way:

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is hosting a Party for the Planet on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can learn how to help the environment, dance in the Earth Day Celebration Zone, and create some eco-friendly crafts.

It’s free to attend the party with paid zoo admission. You can get there by taking any 51-A-B-C MetroHealth Line. Show your RTA pass, and you’ll receive $2 off your zoo ticket.

Holden Forests & Gardens is giving away seedlings at the Cleveland Botanical Garden from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 27. Each family can take home one free seedling, while supplies last. And if you want to stroll through the gardens afterwards, show your RTA pass to receive $2 off regular admission. Take the Red Line to the Little Italy-University Circle stop, and the gardens are within walking distance. 

For Your Safety: Rack-N-Roll how-to

Transit and bicycles are a great, eco-friendly combination. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to bring your bike with you thanks to RTA’s Rack-N-Roll program.

Loading Bikes

  1. Remove loose items that could fall off while the bus is in motion.
  2. Inform the bus driver you will be loading your bike. You must load your bike from the curb or in front of the bus.
  3. Squeeze the handle to release the latch, then pull down the bike rack.
  4. Lift your bike onto the bike rack, fitting wheels into proper wheel slots.
  5. Raise the support arm over the front tire.
  6. Board the bus, receive a bike ticket from the driver, and enjoy the ride!

Unloading Bikes

  1. Hand the driver your bike ticket as you exit.
  2. Unload your bike from in front of the bus or from the curb, not from the street.
  3. Raise the Support Arm off the tire.
  4. Lift your bike out of the bike rack.
  5. If there are no other bikes on the bike rack, fold up the Bike Rack. The bike rack locks in place.
  6. Step away from the bus with your bike.

More safety tips and information on bikes