RTA increases bus, rapid fares and adjusts service to make up for $6 million shortfall

Posted at 3:07 PM, Aug 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-14 15:07:59-04

For the first time in seven years, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) raised its fare and made changes to a handful of routes.

The company is facing a $7 million budget deficit and to make up for the shortfall, the transit company's Board of Trustees voted to increase rates, effective August 14.

The decision came after 16 public hearings were held over a five-month span.

"The last thing RTA wants to do is raise fares or cut service,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese, “but it is felt that today’s decision stabilizes RTA’s budget with as minimal an impact to our customers as possible.”

Here's a breakdown of the fare increase: 

·         The bus/rapid cash fare will increase from the current $2.25 to $2.50, and then to $2.75 in 2018.
·         Senior/Disabled fares will increase from the current $1.00 to $1.25, and then to $1.35 in 2018.
·         Park-N-Ride Bus will increase from the current $2.50 to $2.75, and $3.25 in 2018.
·         The regular All-Day pass will increase from $5.00 to $5.50 in August and $6.00 in 2018.
·         The Monthly Pass for bus, rapid and HealthLine will increase from $85.00 to $95.00 and then to $105.00 in 2018.
·         Paratransit fares will increase from the current $2.25 to $2.50, and then to $2.75 in 2017, $3.00 in 2018 and $3.25 in 2019.

Changes are also being made to a handful of routes: 

   ·        Route #2 on East 79th Street -- originally slated for elimination due to low ridership -- was maintained. However, the adopted plan calls for the current schedule to be adjusted to begin service one hour later, at approximately 5:15 a.m., and end one hour earlier, at approximately 7 p.m.
·         The #8 Cedar route proposal was to eliminate weekday service after 6 p.m. and to eliminate all weekend service. The current plan is to operate weekdays and weekends until 9 p.m.
·         The extensions to Lakeview Tower and Tremont Pointe of the #81 Tremont route, which were proposed to be eliminated due to the high cost per rider, will be retained on days and hours to be determined soon. 
·         The Waterfront Line on weekdays will operate every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes during the mid-day, with service ending at 7 p.m., except on summer Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.