Rider's Digest -- September 2018

Board Votes to Delay Tax Levy Until 2019

At the August 7 committee meeting, the RTA Board decided against including a tax levy option in the upcoming November elections. This issue will be addressed in 2019.

RTA Board President Dennis Clough offered several reasons for this delay:

  • We need greater awareness of the critical role public transit plays in economic development.
  • Customers who rely on public transit for employment, education, and healthcare must be seen as a priority for community leaders.
  • We need to do more work to identify possible sources of funding.
  • We must allow for significant public input.

The reality is that:

  • Several studies are in progress today that will help give RTA and the community the information needed to make sound and informed decisions.
  • The building blocks are in place to realize this vision.

Joseph Calabrese to Assume Advisory Role

The Board of Trustees, along with CEO and General Manager Joseph Calabrese have reached an agreement to accelerate RTA’s executive leadership transition. Beginning September 1, Calabrese will serve RTA in a new senior advisory role as the Board begins a national search for the agency’s next general manager. Specifically, Calabrese will:

  • Serve as Senior Advisor for Special Projects and Strategic Innovation in a full-time capacity between September 1, 2018–February 28, 2019.
  • Advise RTA in this position on a part-time basis from March 1, 2019–February 29, 2020.

Board President Dennis Clough stressed that the decision was mutual and was not prompted by any single event.

“Joe announced his intention to retire in 2020, and we decided it would be best to speed up the transition to a new leader,” Clough said. “From an organizational standpoint, the Board believes that this is the best strategy to ensure an orderly transition to new leadership, and Joe agreed. This decision will better position RTA for the future.”

In addition, Clough said, “Joe Calabrese has served RTA well. We thank him for his leadership and look forward to working with him in his new advisory capacity.”

Trustees Have named Floun’say Caver as interim GM to lead RTA when Calabrese assumes his new position in September. In his advisory role, Calabrese will report to the interim, and ultimately, to the next RTA general manager.

Floun’say Caver, PhD, first joined RTA in 2000 and brings tremendous expertise at the management and executive levels of leadership. He is the current Chief Operating Officer, Deputy General Manager of Operations since October, 2017. He will begin his Interim duties on September 1st. 

Operator Spotlight: Thomas Harriman










Thomas Harriman has called RTA his home for over 15 years—and we know how lucky we are to have him. Originally recruited as a bus operator, Thomas transitioned to work in rail. Thanks to the help of the training staff, he adjusted quickly to the new experience, and he’s loved it ever since. He was successful, not only as an operator, but also as someone who you could count on in the rail yard.

“The best part of the job is seeing the city from the viaduct at all times of the day, especially sunrise and sunset. You really get to see Cleveland come alive.” Harriman says. Rail operators don’t get to interact with customers as often as bus operators do, but he says the connection is still there.

“There are moments where you can just feel the energy of the passengers, like during the World Series and NBA Finals. The trains were packed and full of life. And the excitement is contagious.”

Thomas is committed to being part of the RTA family for years to come. Outside the job, he has another great support system: his family. In his free time, he loves to be with his children and enjoys taking cruises.

Which makes sense: we know that whenever Thomas is at the helm, it’ll be smooth sailing.

Win a Trip to Iceland

The only thing better than public transportation? A free international trip, courtesy of RTA. We’re proud to team up with IcelandAir to provide a free 4-night trip to Iceland. This promotion starts Monday, September 17.

This sweepstakes celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Red Line Rapid, which provides direct service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Avoid paying astronomical parking fees or dealing with airport traffic—simply take the Red Line. You’ll travel from the Tower City Station to the airport in about 30 minutes.

Inter|Urban Art Initiative Takes Over the Red Line

The Red Line Rapid is about to become a little more beautiful, thanks to RTA’s Inter|Urban initiative.

The first phase of this project took place in 2016, when painters and photographers amped up the Red Line with a dozen large-scale indoor and outdoor murals.

For this portion of Inter|Urban, artwork will be installed on the windows of 25 Red Line train cars. Selected artists will receive $1,500 each to create their works.

As with the first phase, artists will be asked to interpret works by winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, a literary prize administered by the Cleveland Foundation designed to recognize books that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of diversity. Passages will come from “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes; “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” by Isabel Wilkerson; “The Fortunes,” by Peter Ho Davies; “Far From the Tree,” by Andrew Solomon; and  “The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle,” by Lillian Faderman. 

September 28–30: Ingenuity Fest

Ignite your spark of creativity at Ingenuity Fest, which will take place at the Hamilton Collaborative (5401 Hamilton Avenue) September 28–30. This event has fun for the whole family—and get ready to move, as this year’s festival has a special focus on dance offerings.

Whether you’re visiting for the day or making the most of the weekend, ride RTA: take the #1 St. Clair bus to E. 53rd Street. The festival hours are 5 p.m.–1 a.m. on Friday, 12 p.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m.–5 p.m. on Sunday.

Adult admission is $5 per day or $10 for the weekend. The festival is free to kids 12 and under.

September 7–9: NEO Cycle

Join the nation’s largest urban cycling festival at NEO Cycle. It runs September 7–9 at Edgewater Park.

Races for all skill levels will be held throughout the weekend. So, enjoy a night ride through Cleveland streets or take an exciting turn in the Velodrome. And bikers, don’t forget to take advantage of RTA’s Rack-N-Roll program. All of our buses are now fitted with racks to hold up to three bikes.

Even if you prefer breaks to brakes, there are still plenty of activities for you. Enjoy food trucks, live music, and a dock jumping competition for dogs! Bring the whole family.

To reach the park by transit, you can take the Red Line to the West Boulevard - Cudell Station. From there, just head left from the station on Detroit Road, turn left onto West Boulevard, and take a short ride down West Boulevard. It’s just a bit more than a mile to the park.

In addition, the Cleveland State Line has a stop at Edgewater Park on Saturdays.  


September 14–15: Crocker Park Wine Festival

Let RTA be your designated driver for the Crocker Park Wine Festival. It will take place Friday, September 14, from 4–10 p.m. and Saturday, September 15, from 2–10 p.m.

Enjoy selecting from over 150 wines, or stick to your favorite craft beers and spirits. The wine festival also features live music, a wide range of exhibitors and artists, and delicious food offerings.

Great news: you’ll be wining and dining for a cause. This event benefits University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

The 49 bus route will take you right to the action. 

Students: Use Your U-Pass

With classes back in session, we want to remind students to use their school supplies—especially their U-Pass.

U-Pass allows students at participating universities to enjoy unlimited rides on RTA buses and trains. Simply adhere the U-Pass sticker to your student ID, and present it to the operator upon boarding. Then, enjoy RTA, whether you’re heading to class or taking a well-deserved study break.

Participating universities include: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland State University, and Cuyahoga Community College.