RTA riders concerned about proposed route cuts and fare hikes

Public hearings to be held in March and April

CLEVELAND - RTA riders are becoming increasingly concerned about proposed route cuts and fare hikes they say could make it difficult for them to keep their jobs.

Riders like Cleveland School crossing guard Keeta Worley-Bell, who relies on RTA for all of her transportation.

Worley-Bell told newsnet5.com if RTA's route 8, the Cedar-E.116 line is trimmed of evening and weekend service she may have to give up her job.

"I need RTA for everything," said Worley-Bell.  "Going to school, going to work, errands, going to church on Sunday's back home. Most of the people in this community don't own a vehicle."

Simon Husted, who is a Cleveland State graduate student, said many students rely on RTA.

Husted who is with the group Clevelanders for Public Transit believe RTA needs to worker harder to obtain more state funding to prevent serious service cuts and fare increases.

"Greater Cleveland Partnership should definitely help in this," said Husted.  "It should make RTA funding a huge priority.  We all know there are so many infrastructure needs, and the state can do so much more than it's doing now."

RTA CEO Joseph Calabrese told newsnet5.com the RTA board will meet on March 1 to go over the proposed cuts, with RTA hosting a series of public meeting in March and April.

Calabrese said to final decisions on proposed cuts will not be made until late April, and riders will have their voices heard in the process.

"People always come and say 'we know your mind is made up,' our mind is not made up," said Calabrese. We're going to learn a lot, we're going to adjust based on what we learned."

RTA's proposed service cuts will reduce or eliminate more than two dozen routes, and includes fare hikes for riders and those who use paratransit.

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