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Cleveland RTA riders concerned about proposed service cuts

Posted at 10:55 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 22:55:10-05

Some Cleveland RTA riders are concerned about proposed cuts in service, which would reduce bus frequency on routes 2, 8 and 81.

Riders passed out information at an RTA stop at East 116 and Shaker Boulevard on Wednesday.

Chris Stocking, Coordinator for Clevelanders for Public Transit, said the cuts were discussed at an RTA board meeting on Feb. 20.

Stocking believes the cuts would have an impact on both service and safety, since buses on the named routes would now arrive every hour, instead of every 40 minutes.

"The longer you have to wait for a bus, the more likely you are at risk for crime," said Stocking. "We think that the main purpose of the transit police, if they're are going to spend over $13 million dollars a year on transit police, should be to keep riders safe, not just to collect fares."

Deborah Gray, who relies on the RTA everyday, said the proposed cuts would hurt low income families who rely on this transportation the most.

"It's very unfair, because these buses that run in the low income area, it's going to affect everyone that doesn't have transportation," said Gray.

News 5 contacted RTA headquarters about this case, and it said it will further discuss the proposed cuts during a meeting on March 6.

RTA issued the following statement:

"Many changes that begin March 11 will allow better connections for workers to get to jobs.

Many customers will not notice any change in service or frequency because those changes are not impacting rush hour trips

A full presentation of the positive impact of these changes will be available at the March 6 board committee meeting.

It’s unfortunate that there are routes that will have decreased frequency. Any changes we made were designed to impact as small a percentage of our customers as possible. Routes with the lowest ridership are those that will be impacted."

Meanwhile, Stocking is insisting the RTA board place an RTA levy on the ballot this summer to find new sources of funding.   

Stocking believes more funding is desperately needed to keep up RTA service and safety.

"RTA needs for funding, but RTA needs to act, because the State of Ohio is not going to fund public transit apparently," said Stocking. "So we're going to have to find a way to do that locally."

Clevelanders for Public Transit is set to hold another protest in Cleveland's Public Square on March 12 starting at 5:30 p.m.