RTA proudly launched its Ready to Ride program in January 2011 – a program designed to encourage employees of local companies to take advantage of RTA buses, rails, and Trolleys. RTA visits each organization involved to present simple, sustainable commuter transit options. And in the weeks following, each employee receives two free Work Week Passes, a trip planner, and works with a personal transit assistant. After a two-week trial period, employees who make the switch from driving to riding also receive a free Monthly Pass as a "thank you" for their commitment to riding RTA.
The Ready to Ride program set out by targeting the largest employment centers in the region – downtown Cleveland and University Circle. These two areas offer commuters a multitude of transit options, with many bus and rail routes to encourage employees to try transit. Since launching the program, RTA has experienced great success, with more than 20 Cleveland-based companies participating, amounting to over 2,300 commuters enrolled in the program. And to date, 1 out of 3 participants have decided to permanently ditch the driver seat for the passenger seat.
With the Ready to Ride program, RTA is converting one employee at a time from never-before-rider to every day loyalist. Participants who have made the switch boast of both their beneficial impact on the environment and personal savings that include: gas expenses, parking money, wear and tear on the car, and driving stresses. And the results are also valuable to their employer: the relaxing ride allows employees to arrive calm and ready to work.
On top of supporting ridership, RTA has also developed great, new relationships with companies in Cleveland. From University Hospitals to KeyBank, Sherwin-Williams to Medical Mutual, PlayhouseSquare to Tucker Ellis LLP, and Forest City to the Cleveland Public Library, RTA now serves as the critical link between employer and employee – helping relieve the pains of commuting, while providing a sustainable ride to work.
As Cleveland continues to grow, so will traffic congestion and parking pains. Which means RTA's Ready to Ride program is an attractive solution for expanding companies – offering their employees a more sustainable and economical transit option. In 2013, RTA will partner with the Cleveland Clinic, PNC Bank, Ernst & Young, and others. Employers interested in learning more about this program are encouraged to contact Jim Frick, RTA's Sales Director at 216-781-4764.
When an abundance of construction and shrinking parking options plagued Cleveland commuters in 2012, RTA was there to relieve the pain. And with a range of riding programs, RTA experienced yet another year of increased ridership system wide.
RTA ridership has grown annually since 2010. And all five service options experienced an increase in ridership in 2012, with the Red Line (9%) and the total Rail System (7.4%) contributing the most to the overall system ridership growth of 4.8%.
RTA's growth can be directly linked to an impressive number of service options, including: five unique modes of transport, 69 individual routes, and 8,500+ stops. RTA also boasts more than 8,800 FREE parking spaces, which has resulted in more than 48.2 million passenger trips in 2012. With great service in place, RTA continues to create programs that attract new riders.
RTA is always looking for new ways to introduce its service to prospective riders in a fun and interactive way. In 2012, RTA launched the Search the City Scavenger Hunt – targeting young professionals with a challenge to complete a Cleveland-based scavenger hunt using only RTA services. The event was met with great success and will continue annually as a way to cultivate future riders.
2013 promises to be another successful year for RTA. As Cleveland continues to grow and new businesses open, RTA realizes the great opportunity for increasing ridership. The highly anticipated opening of the Global Center for Health Innovation (Cleveland GCHI) is slated for 2013. And it's no secret that the HealthLine – conveniently connecting the Cleveland GCHI to the local medical community – helped make Cleveland the prime candidate for the world's only facility targeted specifically to medical and healthcare industries. With the opening, RTA expects to experience increased ridership on the Red Line (the link between the airport and the GCHI), the HealthLine (the link between the GCHI, Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals), and the Trolleys (the free link between downtown hotels and hot spots).
2013 will also mark the opening of the first phase of the Flats East Bank Project. To accommodate the new area of growth, RTA will restore the Waterfront Line to full seven-days-per-week service, providing a sustainable and economical commuting option to over 2,000 workers in the new Ernst & Young World Training Center.
As Cleveland grows, RTA will continue to serve as the critical link – connecting all major destinations while keeping costs low and promoting sustainability.
2012 marked another great year for RTA. Not only because revenue and ridership rose above expectations, but also because new service lines were introduced. And as a result, 2013 will experience even more new service, new hires, and no fare increases.
RTA expanded its free Trolley service in September, adding three new lines to better serve the Cleveland community. The new C-Line (Convention & Casino Line) offers new weeknight (7 p.m. - 11 p.m.) and weekend service (11 a.m. - 11 p.m.), connecting downtown hotels with all of Cleveland's hotspots, from the Horseshoe Casino to E. 4th Street, PlayhouseSquare, and the Warehouse District. The new L-Line (Lakefront Line) provides weekend service (10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) to all the popular lakefront attractions including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, and First Energy Stadium. And the new NineTwelve weekday commuter line, which runs between the Muni Lot and The Gateway District, provides downtown workers a free shuttle from their car to the office – made possible through a strong, local public and private partnership that raised over $3 million to provide free service to the community over the next three years.
With another great fiscal year and an overall ridership increase of 4.8%, RTA has increased service plans for 2013. Bus service will grow by more than 5%, with frequency improvements on 31 routes. And due to the ridership growth on the rail, RTA will increase service by 30% on the Red, Blue, and Green Lines this year.
As Cleveland continues to grow, so will RTA's infrastructure and service reach. The RTA Waterfront Line will be restored to the full seven-days-per-week service in early summer to accommodate the opening of the Flats East Bank Project. And with perpetual growth along the East Ninth Street Corridor, the NineTwelve Trolley will extend its weeknight hours to 8 p.m.
With strong financial health and the addition of new service lines, RTA is in a great position to hire, assist students, and continue to plan for the future. The increase in bus and rail service will add 15 new operator positions in 2013. Plus, RTA will proudly maintain the same fare costs in 2013 and help students save by offering reduced rates on 1-Ride, 5-Trip, and All-Day student passes. And in 2012, RTA launched The Rolling Stock Replacement Fund – a planned reserve in place for bus replacement over the next five years. Last year, RTA accrued $7 million in fund savings that will be used to purchase 60 new buses in 2013.
Of course, as our community continues to grow, demand for service will continue to increase. And RTA is well prepared with robust service options, a healthy infrastructure, and a clear vision for the future.
Every great transit system has a great infrastructure. This year, RTA proved – once again – that it is committed to building a world-class system to support its growing bus and rail lines. By completing projects, breaking new ground, and meeting new funding goals, RTA proved to be steadfast and strong.
The new $3.3 million Buckeye-Woodhill Rapid Station (Blue/Green Lines) opened to the public on October 23rd. The new contemporary-themed station boasts an attractive, high-quality design that's both passenger-friendly and universally accessible. The customer platforms allow access from both Buckeye and Woodhill roads and are covered with transparent fiberglass panels, giving riders increased nighttime visibility. The station also features free parking spaces, a new system of ramps to better serve customers with disabilities, and public art highlighting the rich culture of Cleveland.
In addition to new station openings, RTA has been committed to growing and improving current assets to meet increased demands due to the Innerbelt Bridge Construction Project. In spring 2012, the expansion of the Westlake Park-N-Ride lot was completed, making it the third site (North Olmsted & Strongsville) in recent years to expand for additional rider capacity. RTA also completed rail-crossing projects systemwide to update infrastructure safety. And as projects finished, new projects began. The $18.5 million Cedar-University Rapid Station broke ground on September 19th and will undergo two years of construction before a grand re-opening in 2014. The project is being funded by a combination of federal, state, and local funds, including private industry assistance. The largest funding source came from a TIGER II grant for $10.5 million, while local stakeholder and design support was led by the Cleveland Foundation and University Circle Inc. (UCI).
The Red Line is undergoing a $10.1 million facelift, with new improvements beneath Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Upgrades to the 1,628-foot tunnel will improve safety and restore the tunnel structure, track, and drainage system.
2013 will be another exciting year for RTA, as the funding for the nearly $10 million Bus Rapid Transit Line – West Shore Express – was achieved and is set to break ground in spring 2013. The University Circle-Little Italy Station will also break ground this summer as a result of a partnership that includes UCI, City of Cleveland, and the Little Italy Neighborhood. The station will serve as a new gateway to the historic Little Italy district.
RTA is wholly committed to the growth and improvement of Greater Cleveland's transit system. Not only for increasing demand, but for all those riders looking for relief from high gas prices, parking problems, and ongoing road construction.
RTA is wholly committed to reducing our community's carbon footprint by providing public transit services that take tens of thousands of cars off Northeast Ohio's roads daily. And sustainable business practices are integrated throughout every level of operation, creating a healthier and greener environment for the community RTA serves. In 2012, sustainable thinking was a driving force in reduced energy consumption, waste reduction, and project planning.
RTA serves 457 square miles that include over 1,300 shelters and stations – all of which consume energy. And the RTA Energy program is dedicated to the reduction of energy consumption to establish sustainable operating standards and cut costs. This year, the program led a lighting retrofit project that installed 22,590 energy-efficient light bulbs, fixtures, and sensors that resulted in a savings of more than $616,000, with continual annual savings for years to come.
The RTA Waste Diversion program also made huge strides in 2012 – from solid waste reduction to recycling efforts – resulting in lasting environmental effects and annual cost savings. RTA renegotiated waste disposal contracts in 2012 that led to a reduction in landfill disposal of 5,794.54 pounds (or 2.897 tons) and saved tens of thousands of dollars.
RTA employee efforts also made a significant difference last year, increasing recycling contributions and compost collection from 2011 for a notable reduction in environmental waste in 2012. RTA currently has two new projects in place and more plans for the future that will help conserve energy and aid sustainability efforts, including:
- The Hybrid Bus Wash Project at the Paratransit Garage – a new system which uses 50% less water, electricity, and detergent than the previous system.
- The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Project at the Hayden Bus Garage – a new system which tests alternative fuel sources for RTA buses in an effort to reduce diesel consumption.
Further sustainable plans for the future include the construction of four new rapid stations that are LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), led by the Cedar-University station, which broke ground in September.
Besides recognition from environmental and transit advocates, RTA gained an accolade from APTA (American Public Transportation Association) – receiving a Bronze Certificate of Recognition for honoring APTA's Signatory Sustainability Commitment.
RTA embraces the role to provide the community with a sustainable mode of transportation and welcomes the opportunity to become a leader in environmentally-conscious business.
RTA is more than just a transit authority – it's the critical link that brings employees to their jobs, students to their schools, visitors to tourist destinations, and so much more. And with local organizations, special events, and social media, RTA is not only connecting the community, they're connecting with it, each and every day.
Not only is RTA the easiest and cheapest way to catch a game or special event, it's also a valuable partner to the many entertainment organizations in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians and RTA joined forces again for the 2012 season. As the proud sponsor of Rally Alley, RTA threw a "block party" behind the bleachers prior to Friday and Saturday home games. Indians fans had a blast playing games, winning prizes, and receiving discounted tickets – all because they rode in on RTA. Families were also able to save during the 2012 season, as the Indians and RTA partnered to offer a special $10 family round-trip fare – proving to be the best travel option to any game.
When fall drew near, RTA partnered with the Cleveland Browns, bringing a community bus to the Muni Lot for a huge tailgate party. Creating further buzz, ESPN Cleveland broadcasted the event live, as RTA grilled free food, played games, and handed out prizes to riders.
St. Patrick's Day and the Fourth of July proved to be significant RTA holidays in 2012. In fact, St. Patrick's Day drew the single largest special event crowd in RTA history, resulting in more than 250,000 rides to and from downtown. RTA also successfully hosted its annual Fourth of July Family Fest at Settlers Landing – offering families a Euclid Beach themed package, complete with food, music, giveaways, and a great view of the fireworks.
The Cleveland Auto Show again showcased RTA's creativity for participating in special events by presenting a more sustainable transit option amidst 2013's shiny, new automobiles. RTA parked its luxurious "Barrel Buster" bus at the show, allowing attendees to sit in a "bus simulator" and experience the relaxing ride for themselves.
Additionally, RTA's generosity went well beyond special events and prizes. In 2012, RTA's 2,200 employees gave more than $150,000 to charities, making a hugely positive impact on our community. These charities included: United Way, United Negro College Fund, Community Shares, and EarthShare.
In the digital world, RTA continues to make great strides. Using partnerships to drive Facebook growth, the number of RTA fans has surged to more than 13,000. Today, RTA has the second most Facebook "likes" of all transit authorities in the country, trailing only San Francisco.
RTA will continue to be active in the community through partnerships, special events, and gift giving. And RTA's goal to be an integral part of community life – rather than just another area business – further proves that their involvement reaches far beyond Cleveland transit.
Year-End Financial Report
After managing through one of the worst recessions in the city's history, RTA has achieved annual ridership and revenue gains since 2010. Last year, RTA revenues exceeded expenses once again, allowing the transit authority to finish the year with a positive year-end balance that will be used to continue growing RTA via maintenance, expansion, and service growth.
Total Resources increased to over $293 million in 2012. This gain was led by Sales Tax revenue. Sales Tax receipts represent RTA's primary funding source, covering between 70-80% of the operating budget. Revenue from Cuyahoga County Sales Tax collections finished the year above budget estimates again in 2012, further pointing to the steady growth of the local economy. As a direct result, Sales Tax revenue in 2012 was $181.2 million, up by 4.6% from 2011.
Passenger Fare collections, the second largest source of operating revenue, has increased annually since 2010. With volatile gas prices, growth in Cleveland jobs, and RTA service expansion, more people are choosing to ride RTA – leading fare revenue to reach $49.2 million, an increase of 2.5% over 2011.
With increased and new service in 2012, RTA experienced a rise in operating expenditures, but was able to maintain a positive year-end balance with key budget savings including personnel services and utility costs. Last year, the budget for personnel services was $170 million, but the year-end expenditure totaled $163.8 million, about $6.2 million under budget. While fuel hedging, managing of electricity accounts, and many other cost control initiatives have allowed RTA to roll back expenses by six years, 2012 expenses were lower than 2006.
With consecutive years of Capital Fund growth, RTA is in a great position to continue planned expansion. In 2012, RTA's Capital Fund accrued to an excess of $47.6 million, a $19.6 million increase from 2011. This surplus will continue to fund maintenance projects such as the Airport Red Line safety improvements and the continual Park-N-Ride expansions, as well as fuel growth such as the Cedar-University Rapid Station and West Shore Express project which will break ground in 2013.
In 2012, RTA also launched The Rolling Stock Replacement Fund – a planned reserve in place for bus replacement over the next five years. Last year, RTA accrued $7 million in fund savings that will be used to purchase 60 new buses in 2013.
Financial Indicators also reflected RTA's continued financial strength. Three of the six financial indicators exceeded the Board Policy goal, while Cost per Hour of Service decreased by 7.6%.
For the first time in the last five fiscal years, the Cost per Hour of Service decreased. In 2011, the expense was $133.6 per hour versus $123.4 per hour in 2012. This resulted in a -7.6% change in a very important financial indicator – Growth in Cost per Service Hour. This indicator is to be maintained at or below the level of inflation. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland calculates the inflation rate to remain at about 1.39% over the next ten years. Therefore with a cost change of -7.6%, RTA was well below the level of inflation in 2012.
The Operating Reserve target of greater than one month was met for the third consecutive year. At 2012 year-end, the Operating Reserve was at two months, doubling the Board Policy goal.
RTA's continual action to maintain expenditures helped to achieve a third consecutive year of above Board Policy goal for Debt Service Coverage. The year-end ratio of 2.73 was well above the 1.5 minimum, and it was higher than the budgeted level of 2.10 – a result of a continued positive General Fund Balance and commitment to debt management.
The Sales Tax Contribution to Capital indicator has been above policy goal since 2005, as the transit authority continues to invest more of its own funds into capital projects relative to its available resources. In 2012, this trend continued with the Sales Tax Contribution to Capital ending the year at 17.7%, below the budgeted level of 18.7%, but above the maximum policy goal of 15%.
The two indicators below Board Policy goal in 2012 were Operating Ratio and Capital Maintenance to Expansion. Although the 2012 Operating Ratio was below the Board Policy target of greater than 25%, the year-end ratio of 23% was above the 2012 forecasted budget of 22.3%.
At 99.2%, the Capital Maintenance Outlay to Capital Expansion Outlay was also outside of the newly set 75-90% range outlined in the Board Policy goal. This continues to show that RTA's focus is first on the maintenance or state of good repair of its current assets, rather than expanding with new assets. But, given the increase in Capital Funds over the past two years, RTA expects to see this goal met in the near future.
RTA's continued fiscal discipline and annual ridership growth produced positive results in 2012 and provides the forecast of a bright future for the authority, its customers, and the local community.
|2011 Actual||2012 Actual||$ Change||% Change||% of Total|
|Passenger Fares||$ 48,017,726||$ 49,237,857||$ 1,220,131||2.5%||19.2%|
|Total Operating Revenue||$ 49,053,471||$ 50,814,795||$ 1,761,324||3.6%||19.8%|
|Sales/Use Tax||$ 173,242,329||$ 181,219,251||$ 7,976,922||4.6%||70.5%|
|Total Non-Operating Revenue||$ 213,122,901||$ 206,112,344||$ (7,010,557)||(3.3%)||80.2%|
|Total Revenue||$ 262,176,372||$ 256,927,139||$ (5,249,233)||(2.0%)||100.0%|
|Labor/Fringe||$ 154,927,523||$ 163,776,230||$ 8,848,707||5.7%||64.0%|
|Total Operating Expenditures||$ 210,402,055||$ 222,944,094||$ 12,542,039||6.0%||87.1%|
|Miscellaneous Finance Costs||$0||$0||$0||N/A||0.0%|
|Transfer to Insurance Fund||$3,250,000||$ 1,000,000||(2,250,000)||(69.2%)||0.4%|
|Transfer to Pension Fund||100,000||100,000||0||0.0%||0.0%|
|Transfer to Bond Retirement Fund||19,793,855||19,386,892||(406,963)||(2.1%)||7.6%|
|Transfer to Capital Improvement Funds||12,101,441||12,636,995||535,554||4.4%||4.9%|
|Total Non-Operating Expenditures||$ 35,245,296||$ 33,123,887||$ (2,121,409)||(6.0%)||12.9%|
|Total Expenditures||$ 245,647,351||$ 256,067,981||$10,420,630||4.24%||100.0%|
|Revenue/Expenditures||$ 16,529,021||$ 859,158|
|Balance Jan. 1||$ 19,846,961||$ 36,375,983|
|Reserve Funds||$ 7,702,000||$ 14,940,000|
|Balance Dec. 31 (Less Reserve Funds)||$ 28,673,982||$ 22,295,141|
|2011 Actual||2012 Actual||$ Change||% Change||% of Total|
|Federal Capital Grants||$ 51,104,869||$ 33,570,510||$ (17,534,359)||(34.3%)||44.2%|
|State Capital Grants||778,956||1,135,673||356,717||45.8%||1.5%|
|General Obligation Debt Proceeds||0||25,000,000||25,000,000||100.0%||32.9%|
|Total Operating Revenue||$ 65,727,872||$ 75,883,419||$ 10,155,547||15.5%||100.0%|
|RTA Development Fund Projects||$ 58,415,659||$ 54,373,819||$ (4,041,840)||(6.9%)||96.7%|
|RTA Capital Fund Projects||1,253,383||1,827,225||573,842||45.8%||3.3%|
|Transfer to Bond Retirement Fund||0||0||0||N/A||0.0%|
|Total Expenditures||$ 59,669,042||$ 56,201,045||$ (3,467,998)||(5.8%)||100.0%|
|Revenue/Expenditures||$ 6,058,830||$ 19,682,374|
|Balance Jan. 1||$ 21,950,024||$ 28,008,854|
|Balance Dec. 31||$ 28,008,854||$ 47,691,228|
48.2 million passenger trips
457 square miles
59 municipalities, including
- 38 cities
- 19 villages
- 2 townships
1.28 million people, 2011 estimate
452 buses and trolleys
8,557 bus stops
17.6 million revenue miles
2.7 million revenue miles
Red Line Rapid Transit
60 heavy-rail cars
18 high-platform stations
19 route miles of track
Blue/Green Line Rapid Transit (includes Waterfront Line)
48 light-rail cars
34 low-platform stations
15.3 route miles of track
80 RTA vehicles
63 contracted vehicles
647,031 passenger trips
8,800 free spaces
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Service
1 route on Euclid Avenue and Public Square
9.4 miles of bus-only lanes
23 Rapid Transit Vehicles (RTVs)
59 stations and 3 platform stops
1 tunnel, at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
More than 521,600 calls were answered
Commuter Advantage program
629 employers participated in 2011
$9,531 estimated savings per commuter
$13.5 million annualized revenue
RTA in Cyberspace
Website: More than 3.4 million visitors viewed more than 10.7 million pages at rideRTA.com
Mobile Website: More than 38,000 visitors viewed more than 91,000 pages at m.rideRTA.com
NextConnect: Nearly 25,000 visitors, about 57,000 visits and 530,000 pages viewed
965 subscribers at nextconnect.riderta.com
Online Store: Sold $270,304 of fare media at shopRTA.com
Facebook: More than 13,000 fans like us at rideRTA
Twitter: 2,268 people follow us @GCRTA
Commuter Alerts: 2,143 subscribers
LinkedIn: RTA maintains a company profile geared to the business-to-business audience
All info current as of Dec. 31, 2012