RTA transit riders are calling for a levy to reduce fares, additional routes and better maintenance

Posted at 8:30 AM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 19:02:26-04

Public transit has been plagued with problems for years as money is tight for the RTA and riders are losing their patience.

“It was a $1.25, for a single ride. It's $2.50 now. That's a big difference for somebody who's only making $17,000 per year," said one transit rider with the Clevelanders For Public Transit, who protested and marched Monday night from the RTA headquarters to public square in downtown Cleveland, trying to get their message across to the Board. 

The RTA board is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning. The group wants the RTA board to put a levy on the ballot hoping to prevent even more problems in the future.

One example of those problems happened last month when bus driver Henry Hill was let go after using his cell phone to call for help during an emergency.

Hill is now getting his job back. The RTA reversed its decision after learning he only called because the bus radio was out of service.

William H. Nixe Sr. with the Bus Drivers’ Union said given Mr. Hill's situation, a levy in which Clevelanders for Public Transit are pushing for, is ideal.

“We got to get this together, this is safety, this is a progressive growing city we need the proper equipment out there for the public,” said Nixe.

The levy would compensate for the $21 million loss of state funds from two years ago and with that money, the group wants to see more routes, lower fares, and better service, including attention to maintenance issues.

"I think it's time that transit is a priority for this region,” said Marvin Ranaldson, Committee Chair for the Clevelanders for Public Transit.

If the board wants to put this on the ballot for November, this meeting today would be the very last opportunity to do that before the August 6 deadline.

We’ll be at that meeting and bring you the latest on what they decide.