Streetcar on Clifton Blvd.

Public transportation in Greater Cleveland has a long and proud history. Here is a timeline.

The early years

  • 1818, A stagecoach ran between Cleveland and Painesville.
  • 1834-42, The first rail line, Cleveland & Newburgh, operated along Euclid Avenue, from Public Square to Wade Park.
  • 1841, Omnibus service -- a horse-drawn carriage for large groups of riders – started operation between downtown hotels and railroad stations.
  • 1859, First street railway from downtown to East 55th Street. Horse-drawn streetcar pulled coach on rails secured in the streets for smoother ride.
  • 1860s and 1870s, Three suburban steam lines provided uncoordinated transportation.
  • 1884-1901, The transportation system was electrified and consolidated. The first commercial electric railway in the USA ran in Cleveland. As trolleys gained popularity in the late 1800s, Cleveland had 425 miles of streetcar lines.
  • 1903, Marcus Hanna consolidated smaller lines as the Cleveland Electric Railway Co.
  • 1904, Cleveland Railway began operation of a Murray chain-driven “Opera” bus.
  • Oct. 1, 1908, First mass-produced “Model T” car was sold.
  • 1930-1940, Ridership during the Depression rose to 299 million.
  • 1941-1945, During World War II, ridership rose to 446 million in 1946.

Light rail begins

  • 1913-20, Cleveland’s rapid transit system started when brothers O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen developed the City of Shaker Heights. They connected the suburb and their Terminal Tower project with a private right-of-way light-rail, now called the Green and Blue lines.
  • Dec. 17, 1913, First-light-rail train begins operation.
  • July 20, 1930, Shaker Rapid cars began using the Cleveland Union Terminal (CUT), after the Terminal Tower opened.

Bus service begins

  • 1925, Cleveland’s bus era began when the Motor Coach Division of Cleveland Railway began to operate a downtown loop. Ridership losses, caused by the popularity of the automobile, forced the transit company to seek a more economical vehicle mode. This resulted in a gradual conversion from streetcar to bus operation.

Heavy rail begins

  • Feb. 4, 1952, The Cleveland Transit System (CTS) broke ground for a heavy rail system behind the Windermere Carbarn, now Louis Stokes Station at Windermere.
  • March 15, 1955, Service began between Tower City and Windermere. More than 8 million people rode the Red Line that year. The cars were known as "Bluebirds" because of their blue paint scheme.
  • Aug. 14, 1955, The Red Line was extended from the Cleveland Union Terminal to West 117th Street and Madison Avenue.
  • March 1957, Cuyahoga County Engineer Albert Porter recommended against building a downtown subway system.
  • Nov. 15, 1958, Red Line rail service extended 1.8 miles from the West 117th Street Station to the Triskett Station and the West 143rd/Lorain Station. The Triskett Garage opened.
  • Nov. 15, 1968, A federal grant financed a four-mile rail extension to Hopkins International Airport, making Cleveland the first city in the Western Hemisphere to offer direct rapid transit service to its major airport. The Puritas Station opened.
  • April 20, 1969, The Brookpark Red Line Station opened.
  • March 1, 1971, A Red Line station opened at East 34th Street-Campus.
  • 1990, RTA rebuilt its rail station at Tower City.

CTS formed

  • April 28, 1942, The City-operated Cleveland Transit System (CTS) was formed. A three-man transit commission was set up to operate CTS as a separate department in Cleveland City government.
  • July 1, 1970, CTS employees began a 17-day strike. Ridership continued to fall. These events helped lead to the creation of a regional system.
  • 1974, In its last full year of operation, CTS operated with a net loss of $6.9 million, which was paid with reserve funds. This was the first year that the State provided funding for capital projects. The fleet of 706 buses and 116 rapid cars operated 21.9 million vehicle miles annually. CTS completed the West Side rail shop in Brook Park.
  • Nov. 1, 1974, Leonard Ronis became General Manager of CTS.

RTA created

  • Background, Cleveland was the last major city in the nation to operate a transit system largely based on farebox revenues. Because of this, service improvements and maintenance of facilities and equipment suffered. To continue effective service, officials sought to create a regional tax base and apply for federal funds.
  • 1970, The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation permitting communities to set up regional transit authorities.
  • 1972-1974, Five Greater Cleveland counties participated in a $750,000 mass transit study. The study proposed $1 billion in transit improvements, and was a prerequisite for receiving federal mass transit funds.
  • June 12, 1974, The Ohio Senate passed SB 544, which provided for regional transit authorities to be created with a dedicated tax base.
  • Nov. 26, 1974, President Ford signed the National Mass Transportation Act, with $11.8 billion in transit improvements over six years. This increased the importance of creating a regional transit authority supported by tax funds.
  • Dec. 30, 1974, Legislation adopted by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Cleveland City Council established the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
  • January 1975, The first RTA Board was appointed.
  • May 21, 1975, A “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed by the City, the County and suburban mayors to transfer CTS assets to RTA, and guarantee fares and service improvements for five years.
  • July 22, 1975, Voters overwhelmingly approved a one-percent countywide sales tax increase to fund RTA. The 71 percent plurality was the largest ever in this nation for a transit issue.
  • Sept. 5, 1975, The Cleveland and Shaker services merged when RTA assumed control of all Cleveland Transit System (CTS) bus routes, and both the CTS and Shaker rapid transit lines. Leonard Ronis was named the first General Manager. Offices were at 1404 E. Ninth St.
  • Oct. 5, 1975, Full operations began when buses from suburban lines in Maple Heights, North Olmsted, Brecksville, Garfield Heights and Euclid joined RTA through service agreements.
  • Oct. 5, 1975, Fares were 25 cents Local, 35 cents Express, 13 cents for seniors/handicapped during rush hours and free during non-rush hours, 13 cents for students and 10 cents for the downtown loop. Transfers, students and children under age 6 were free. Ridership surged 19 percent in the first month, with 378,000 average weekday riders. Ridership by seniors increased 157 percent.

Summary of RTA improvements

Since its formation, RTA has greatly expanded the number of buses it operates, made numerous improvements to Rapid Stations and support facilities, created the Transit Police, and expanded its Paratransit services for senior citizens and disabled persons.


Service miles increased by 130,000 per week. Ridership was up 55 percent over pre-RTA levels.


Average daily ridership was more than 450,000, up 65 percent from pre-RTA levels.
Transit Police began with 25 full-time officers providing security.
Fleet increased to 981 buses and 173 rail cars.
RTA started a comprehensive Affirmative Action and Minority Business Enterprise program.


Ridership was up 71 percent over pre-RTA levels.
143 new buses went into service.
RTA began the Red, Blue and Green color scheme for the Rapid Transit.


RTA’s fleet included 1,020 buses and 166 rail cars.
RTA integrated operations from the City of Euclid.
May, RTA created a 28-member Citizens Participation Advisory Committee. In 1989, this  became the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. In 1999, it became the Citizen’s Advisory Board.
April 21, RTA began a $100 million, 16-month reconstruction of the light-rail lines.


The Customer Service Center opened at 2019 Ontario St.
Parking lots were completed at Brookpark and Puritas Rapid Stations.
Leonard Ronis was elected President of the American Public Transit Association, and re-elected in 1981.
Jan. 21, Garfield Heights Transit became part of RTA.
May 24-26, RTA offices were moved into the 10th and 11th floors of the Lausche State Office Building, 615 West Superior Ave.
July 1, Fares increased to 40 cents Local and 50 cents Express.


Aug. 9, Fares increased to 60 cents Local, 75 cents Express and 25 cents Loop.
Oct. 30, RTA completed a $100-million rebuilding of the 15-mile Shaker Rapid. 48 new Breda cars went into service.
Nov. 30, Leonard Ronis retired as General Manager. He was replaced by William C. Lahman.


RTA opened a training facility – the first of its kind in the nation – at the West Park Rapid Station.
RTA completed the new $6.2 million Service Building at the rail complex for Power and Plant departments.
March 21, New electric fareboxes debuted at the Cleveland Union Terminal (Tower City).
June 6, RTA opened the Central Bus Maintenance Facility at 2500 Woodhill Road.


Rail District Headquarters Building opened.
RTA began an extensive Red Line rehabilitation project.
Early 1984, 77 of 105 new “Metro” buses arrived from Flxible Corp., Delaware, OH.
April 29, RTA completed its $5-million home for Paratransit at 4601 Euclid Ave.
April 29, RTA opened its new $23-million Central Rail Maintenance Facility.
July 1, RTA purchased Brecksville Road Transit Inc. for $300,000.


RTA's 10th anniversary. In 10 years, RTA spent more than $400 million on capital improvements, purchased 550+ new buses, and carried more than 1 billion passengers.
Jan. 15, William C. Lahman resigned as General Manager, and John V. Terango was appointed Acting General Manager. He was named General Manager on Dec. 11, 1985.
September, The last of 60 new heavy-rail Tokyu cars was placed into service.


RTA provided more than 80 million rides to customers.
On-time performance improved to 93 percent.
A new revenue facility was completed.
New light-rail stations opened at Shaker Square and Woodhill.
RTA reduced its accidents by 17 percent, and won awards from the National Safety Council and the Greater Cleveland Safety Council.
RTA received a major national award for its affirmative action program from the American Public Transit Association, as well as several awards for transit advertising.
January, The RTA Board approved a re-organization, allowing the General Manager to appoint members of the Executive Management Team. This evolved into an agreement to give the General Manager more day-to-day decision-making authority.


The RTAnswerline began at 216-621-9500.
For the first time, RTA’s annual report mentioned the Dual Hub Corridor project, which later became the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, and the HealthLine.
April, A new loop system was added downtown. Loop ridership rose by 225,000.
April, RTA introduced new state-of-the-art registering fareboxes with secure vaults to restrict the handling of funds.
Aug. 31, John V. Terango resigned as General Manager.


RTA began a program to equip regular buses with wheelchair lifts, and introduced a special "Flats Flyer" service.
Transit Police join Caribbean/Gang Task Force.
March 21, Taras G. Szmagala named Acting General Manager.
May 2, Ronald J. Tober named General Manager.


RTA started a Drive for Excellence campaign, an employee-driven effort to increase ridership and improve RTA’s image in the community.
May, 77 new air-conditioned buses arrived in Cleveland.


June 11, RTA opened its first Park-and-Ride lot. The $1.6 million facility in Strongsville, near the I-71 exit for the Ohio Turnpike, holds 300 cars.
July, RTA’s Customer Service Center moved to 315 Euclid Ave., near Public Square.
August, Ronald J. Tober was named a “Most Valuable Public Official” by City and State magazine.
Dec. 17, RTA opened its new $60-million world-class station at Tower City.
RTA introduced a new Employer Pass Subsidy Program, which later became Commuter Advantage.


Fares increased to $1 Local, $1.25 Express and 35 cents Loop.
The American Public Transit Association awarded RTA the prestigious Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Award, for outstanding efficiency and effectiveness in service and operational innovation.
RTA began its Arts-in-Transit program, displaying public art at major customer facilities.
June, RTA opened a renovated bus garage in Brooklyn.
November, RTA began using natural gas buses downtown.


A Total Quality Management plan was introduced.
April, Vice President Dan Quayle rode the Red Line from Hopkins Airport to Downtown.
September, A new $2.6 million Red Line station opened at West 25th Street, near the West Side Market.


The Dual Hub Corridor Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement evaluated upgrades to existing bus and rail transit service, as well as various rail alternatives, in the Euclid Corridor area.
January, Vice President Al Gore requested an RTA natural-gas bus to transport him in the inaugural parade.
Feb. 15, Fares increased to $1.25 Local, $1.50 Express and 50 cents Loop.
April, Trustees adopted RTA’s first long-range plan, Transit 2010.
April, A Park-and-Ride facility for 350 cars opened on St. Clair Avenue, near Babbitt Road and I-90.


March 15, George F. Dixon III appointed to the RTA Board. He has become one of the longest-serving Board presidents in Ohio transit history.
April 2, RTA opened the $11-million “Walkway to Gateway,” a 1,000-foot facility connecting Tower City Center to Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.
May, A renovation was completed on new $1.9-million Airport Red Line station.
Summer, RTA introduced Family Fares.


January, RTA opened a new $19.2 million garage on Harvard Avenue in Newburgh Heights, with the largest indoor compressed natural gas fueling station in North America.
July, RTA marked its 20th anniversary.
August, RTA introduced its first Web site.
September, RTA provided more than 500,000 rides on Labor Day weekend, as the Rock Hall opening and Cleveland National Air Show competed for attention.
Nov. 21, RTA Board members selected Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as their Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for a project that later became known as the Euclid Corridor. Transportation Project. On Dec. 8, Board members of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) also adopted this as their LPA.
December, RTA opened a 300-car Park-and-Ride lot in Westlake, near I-90.


RTA’s annual report noted “a reduction of federal operating assistance of 47.6 percent in 1996…state funding is also in question.”
May, RTA completed a $4 million renovation of the West Park Red Line Station.
July 10, As part of Cleveland’s Bicentennial, RTA opened the 2.2 mile, $55.2 million light-rail Waterfront Line, the first new rail line in 25 years.
July 1, RTA introduced its first two Community Circulators, the 803 St. Clair-Superior and the 801 Lee-Harvard.
September, RTA completed a $5-million rehab of the Superior Red Line Rapid Station.


RTA revised its Long-Range Plan, with more than 40 projects designed to provide new transit bus service, linking inner-ring neighborhoods with outlying suburbs and counties and improving suburb-to-suburb service.
Working with the City of Cleveland, RTA began work on preliminary design of the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project, which later became the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project.
April-October, The Indians’ season ends with an appearance in the World Series.
August, RTA started service on the #806 Euclid Community Circulator.
September, RTA’s Main Offices moved to the Root-McBride Building, 1240 W. Sixth St., in the Warehouse District. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
November, RTA renamed the $12.7 million “Louis Stokes Station at Windermere” in honor of the Congressman “for his many years of unwavering support.”


RTA completed a $21-million renovation of the Hayden bus garage in East Cleveland.
Surveys show that 50,000 people each day ride RTA to work, and 16.6 percent of them do not have any alternative.
January, RTA started the 804 Lakewood and 805 Slavic Village Community Circulators.
April, The 807 Tremont Community Circulator began service.


March, RTA began service on the 802 Southeast Community Circulator.
April, RTA completed a $5.5-million reconstruction of the West Boulevard-Cudell Station.
May, More than 1,300 transit professionals attended the annual bus conference, sponsored by the American Public Transit Association (APTA), and hosted by RTA.
July, RTA assumed management of the Cuyahoga County Work Access van service.
August, RTA began service on the 808 West Shore Community Circulator.
Aug. 12, The new $5 million Waterfront Line station opened at West Third Street, near the new Browns Stadium, in time for the first home game.
October, RTA opened the $600,000 Euclid Transit Center, with 300 parking spaces.
Oct. 31, Ronald J. Tober resigns as General Manager to accept a position in Charlotte, NC. The Walkway is re-named “the Ronald J. Tober Walkway to Gateway.”
Nov. 1, Clarence D. Rogers Jr. named Interim General Manager.
November. RTA opened the $650,000 Westgate Transit Center in Fairview Park.
1999, RTA completed 3 Major Investment Studies and moved them into the evaluation process. The studies focused on extending the Waterfront Line, Red Line and Blue Line.


Feb. 28, Joseph A. Calabrese started as CEO and General Manager.
March 1, Work began on a $7.5 million renovation of the Brookpark rail station.
April 17, A Work Access van service started in cooperation with the Beachwood Transportation Management Organization (BTMO).
June 1, A bike rack pilot program began.
June 9, The 809 Community Circulator began service to the West Park neighborhood.
June 22, RTA’s 25th anniversary celebration began.
July 18, Six area transit agencies in five counties began offering free transfers.
July 27, RTA released its first quarterly report card.
Nov. 30, The new $8.4 million Triskett Red Line Station opened.
Dec. 11, Service began on the 820 Community Circulator at St. Clair-Five Points.
Community Circulator ridership increased 56 percent.


RTA began a $15-million, eight-year in-house program to perform a mechanical rehabilitation of the Tokyu heavy-rail vehicle fleet.
Feb. 5, A new customer service program, Ride Happy or Ride Free, was introduced.
March 1, Construction began on the new Park-and-Ride facility in North Olmsted.
April 4, RTA’s 23 new over-the-road MCI coaches began service.
April 24, RTA spent $66.2 million for 225 clean diesel low-floor 40-foot NABI buses.
May 9, RTA announced plans to use hybrid-electric vehicles on the Euclid Corridor.
May 22, RTA approved a Universal Pass, or U-Pass, program for fall semester for 3,500 undergraduates at Case Western Reserve University.
Sept. 11, After the terrorist attacks, RTA mobilized rush-hour level service for a mid-morning evacuation of downtown. RTA then joined many other agencies in collecting funds for victims of the World Trade Center disaster.
2001, The City of Solon received a “Community Impact” award from Inside Business magazine, for partnering with RTA to improve job access.


Jan. 29, RTA sent 18 bus operators to Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Feb. 8, Federal Transit Administration issued "Finding of No Significant Impact" for the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project. This action cleared the way for RTA to proceed with Final Design. The RTA Board took action to begin Final Design on Feb. 19.
March 25, Fares for Loops and Community Circulators increased from 50 cents to 75 cents. The weekly “flex” pass was introduced.
July 29, RTA’s Loretta Kirk was elected to serve as Chair for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) for two years.
Sept. 16, RTA began a $6.6 million rail rehab on 2.5 miles of track, from Tower City to East 55th Street. The track is used by both heavy-rail and light-rail vehicles.
Oct. 16, RTA dedicated the $1.4 million Southgate Transit Center in Maple Heights.
Nov. 22, The new Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) Head Start Center opened at the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland.
Dec. 9, RTA dedicated a $1.7 million transit center and park-n-ride lot in North Olmsted.


January, RTA began selling fare cards on-line.
February, RTA consolidated four bus garages to three districts. Triskett closed for reconstruction, and operations moved to Woodhill. The Brooklyn Garage also closed.
Feb. 2, The All-Day Pass was introduced.
June 5, RTA unveiled new state-of-the-art Integrated Communications Center (ICC), which employs GPS technology to monitor all vehicles in the fleet.
June 30, Service began on the 821 University Circle-Heights Area Community Circulator.
Aug. 14, The largest power blackout in American history affected 50 million people in 8 states. Forty RTA trains were left stranded on the tracks. Crews worked through the night to minimize service disruptions. Full service was restored by 1 p.m. the next day.
Sept. 29, RTA Board President George F. Dixon III was the elected the first African-American male to serve as Chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) -- the top industry group in North America.
RTA ended 2003 with a 1.5 percent increase in ridership -- the first increase since 1997.


April 20, RTA purchased 21 environmentally RTVs (Rapid Transit Vehicles) for $800,000 each from New Flyer of America Inc., for use on the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project and what is now the HealthLine.
July, RTA’s 15 red Community Circulator vehicles began operation.
July 29-Aug. 2, RTA supplied transportation for fans and athletes from around the world, as Cleveland hosted the International Children’s Games.
Sept. 8-9, RTA received national attention for its marketing of annual blood drive for the American Red Cross. This year’s effort was called A Pint for a Pint.
Sept. 21, RTA opened the new $4 million W. 65th-Lorain-EcoVillage rail station on the Red Line. The cornerstone of a public-private partnership, EcoVillage is believed to be one of the first "green” rail stations in the nation.
Oct. 19, A federal Full Funding Grant Agreement was signed, and ground was broken near Playhouse Square. for the $200-million Euclid Corridor Transportation Project.
Nov. 29, A Park-N-Ride lot opened in Solon.
Dec. 21, RTA’s Board adopted a revised long-range plan.
For only the second time in 25 years, RTA posted back-to-back increases in ridership.


Jan. 11, RTA broke ground for a $1.3 million station reconstruction at East 105th Street and Quincy Avenue.
March 1, RTA’s Board approved a letter of intent for joint development on 15.5 acres at the Brookpark Rapid Station.
March 15, RTA commemorated 50 years of Red Line service. Total ridership: 502,726,847.
March 20, RTA fully integrated Maple Heights Transit and the North Olmsted Municipal Bus Line (NOMBL).
March 25, RTA started work in the transit zone for the Euclid Corridor Project.
April 1, RTA’s Customer Service Center moved to Tower City and the Main Office Building.
April 11, RTA introduced Smart Commute Plus for homeowners.
May 5, Senior Transportation Connection (STC) formed.
Summer, RTA introduced bus-only lanes downtown.
July 20, RTA broke ground for Parmatown Transit Center.
July 28, RTA starts two projects to improve, beautify Shaker Square.
Aug. 4, John P. Joyce replaced John K. Joyce as Transit Police Chief.
Sept. 1, Service began on the 822 Southwest Community Circulator.
Sept. 22, High gas prices pump up ridership.
Nov. 1, RTA dedicated the new 25-million Triskett Garage.
Nov. 4, RTA opened a new $1.3 million Red Linel station at East 105th Street and Quincy Avenue.
RTA marks third straight year of ridership increases.


Jan. 11, RTA introduced gold buses to serve Lakewood’s Gold Coast.
Feb. 1, RTA upgrades its Web site, adds automated trip planner and begins e-newsletter.
April 10, Trolley service began downtown.
April 21-30, Spiderman filming caused major bus reroutes.
May 19, General Manager Joe Calabrese elected President, Ohio Public Transit Assn.
July 1, RTA has the first across-the-board fare increase in 13 years.
Aug. 15, RTA opened $2.1 million transit center at Parmatown.
Sept. 20, RTA completed two key projects on Shaker Square.
Dec. 11, Service began on the 821 Community Circulator to Severance Town Center, and the 823 Coventry-Shaker Square Community Circulator.
Dec. 13, RTA opens expanded section of Strongsville Park-N-Ride.
December, RTA installed cameras on 45 new buses in the 2800 series.
Ridership up for fourth straight year.


Feb. 1, RTA begins to equip all new buses with video cameras for increased security.
Feb. 1, All RTA property became smoke-free.
Feb. 28, RTA announces the start of functional testing.
March 15, RTA teams up with Dave's Markets for free rides.
April 9, OPTA President Joe Calabrese testifies on the need for increased transit funding before the Ohio House Transportation and Justice Subcommittee.
April 10, Trolleys celebrate first anniversary, average weekday ridership tops 2,000.
May 22, Joe Calabrese re-elected president of OPTA.
May 30, Construction begins for expansion of the North Olmsted Transit Center.
June 6, RTA offers extra rail service for Cavs playoff action.
June 21, RTA unveils Join the Ride promotion.
June 28, RTA introduces One-Pass Trips to Cleveland neighborhoods.
Aug. 31, Gale Fisk joins RTA as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Oct. 1, RTA named Best in North America by APTA.
Oct. 4, RTA offers extra service for Indians' playoff action.
Oct. 16, RTA opens new rail station at West 117th Street - Highland Square.
Nov. 26, Part of Euclid Avenue opens ahead of schedule.
Dec. 3, Expanded Park-N-Ride lot opens in North Olmsted.
Dec. 18, RTA adopts 2008 budget.


Jan. 7, Fare modifications take effect.
Jan. 24, Ridership up for fifth straight year.
Feb. 28, HealthLine formed as RTA sells naming rights to Clinic, UH.
April 15, RTA Board approves violation fare for proof-of-payment.
April 25, RTA opens a second section of the HealthLine.
May 11, RTA opens East Cleveland portion of Euclid Corridor Project.
Sept. 18, RTA receives federal Transit Security grant.
Oct. 6, Commuter Advantage program tops 10,000 riders.
Oct. 24, HealthLine opens on Euclid Avenue.
Nov. 18, Trolley ridership nears 5,500 a day.
Dec. 23, RTA celebrates 1 million trolley riders.


Jan. 6, Statewide Transportation Task Force issues report.
Jan. 13, Ridership increases in 2008 for record sixth straight year.
Feb. 3, TransitStat saved RTA $2.3 million in overtime in 2008.
March 24, RTA is set to receive $45 million in federal stimulus money.
March 24, William Patmon sworn in as new Board member.
April 2, Buses begin “beeping” to warn pedestrians of left-hand turns.
April 9, Brookpark Station set for major facelift.
May 14, Meeting set to discuss the design of University Circle station.
May 26, 287 salaried employees see their wages reduced by 3 percent.
May 27, Ground broken for the Puritas station.
July 15, Budget challenges prompt special Board meeting.
July 24, Community Circulators to end operation Sept. 20.
Aug. 5, Proof-of-payment fare collection system added to Red Line.
Aug. 15, 25-cent fare increase takes effect Sept. 1.
Sept. 4, RTA proposes new weekly shopper service.
Sept. 10, Ground broken for Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center.
Sept. 14, RTA adds articulated buses to two West Side routes.
Sept. 18, Operators can no longer have a cell phone on their person while in revenue service.
Dec. 9, RTA announces January public hearings for major service reduction.
Dec. 16, Board approves budget for first 3 months of 2010 only.


January, RTA holds 10 public meetings to gather community input on proposals that affect fares and reduce service, to help close a projected $17 million budget gap. More than 1,000 people attend.
Jan. 25, General Manager Joe Calabrese is named to the federal Program Advisory Committee for Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Feb. 16, RTA Board approves 2010 operating budget of $226 million. To close a $17 million budget gap, the Board votes to replace a fuel surcharge with regular fare and reduce service by 12 percent, effective April 1.
Feb. 27-March 7, HealthLine vehicle is on display at Cleveland Auto Show.
March 26, Lakewood-Cleveland Shopper Shuttle begins service.
March 31, Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 reject the terms of a recommended agreement by a fact-finder, appointed by the State Employee Relations Board, to settle a contract dispute with RTA. The two parties have been in negotiations since before the current three-year contract expired on July 31, 2009.
April 7, RTA officials host a meeting to begin the public involvement process for the upcoming transit project on Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood.
April 20, Youths get an expanded safety net, as RTA begins participation in a national program, Safe Place.
April 22, West Park Shopper Shuttle begins service.
April 27, RTA begins using social media, Twitter.
May 2-5, RTA hosts the Bus & Paratransit Conference and International Bus Roadeo. More than 1,000 people attend the events, sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association.
May 18, RTA receives a Best-in-Class award for Senior Management Diversity from the Commission on Economic Inclusion, for "building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive organization."
May 19, Taras Szmagala receives the Leonard Ronis Excellence in Transit Award from the Ohio Public Transit Association. His 46 years in public service include 28 years at RTA. He is retired.
June 3, A total of 16 bus and rail operators receive the Professional Operators Safety Award. This is given to those who have at least 20 years of safe operation – driving without an accident. This year’s winners have a combined total of 470 years of safe operation.
July 7-11, RTA adds extra service on Waterfront Line for the Tall Ships Festival.
July 20, The Ohio Chapter of American Council of Engineering Companies names the HealthLine Ohio’s top engineering project of the year.
July 21, Safety Director Pamela McCombe is appointed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety.
July 23, The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials awards the Thomas G. Neusom Founders Award to Loretta Kirk, for her dedication to the growth and development of minorities in the transportation industry. It is the group’s highest award.
Sept. 30, 2010, RTA adds Facebook page.
Oct. 3, 2010, RTA begins to hold tailgating parties before every Browns home game, in the Municipal Parking Lot near the South Harbor Station on the Waterfront Line.
Oct. 11, RTA introduces Commuter Alerts for rail customers.
Oct. 18, RTA receives $16.4 million from Gov. Strickland over three years, with $5.4 million in the first year. This is part of a statewide program to increase funding to transit. Years 2 and 3 have to be approved by the Ohio General Assembly.
Oct. 19, RTA opens the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center at Cleveland State University.
Oct. 22, RTA receives a $10.5 million federal grant to reconstruct the University Circle Red Line Station.
Nov. 23, The RTA Board approves a new juvenile fare enforcement program, to take effect February 1, 2011.
Dec. 12, Using state funds awarded on Oct. 18 (above), RTA begins service on two new routes, with increased hours of operation on six other routes.
Dec. 20, RTA receives $1.2 million in funding from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency for two projects. Grants of $600,000 each will support the Clifton Boulevard Transit Enhancement Project in Cleveland and Lakewood and the University Circle Rapid Transit Station reconstruction project in Cleveland.


Jan. 27, RTA’s Ohio bonds were awarded an A+ from Fitch Rating, with an outlook called 'stable'. Fitch credited RTA with "swift implementation of corrective action to offset any continued economic weakness and continued careful monitoring of sales tax and ridership trends."
Feb. 9, FTA officials visit construction at the Puritas Rapid Station, calling it as prime example of the Obama Administration’s efforts to spur private-sector investment, create jobs and support the nation’s transportation system.
March, RTA receives the Award of Excellence in Infrastructure from the Cleveland Engineering Society (CES) for its new Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center. The award focused on the structure of the building: its total design, engineering and construction.
April, Innerbelt construction work begins. Ridership continues to increase, and RTA introduces a special page at to help people find transit alternatives for their downtown commutes.
April 15, Riders help RTA "pack the bus" at WKYC TV-3, to raise donations for the Harvest for Hunger. The event collected enough food to provide more than 9,500 meals.
April 29, Because of low ridership, both the Lakewood/Cleveland and West Park Shopper Shuttle end operation.
April 29, RTA celebrates the 10th million rider on the HealthLine. Service began in October 2008.
May 5, For the second year in a row, RTA wins a major diversity award from the Commission on Economic Inclusion.
May 17, RTA opens a $9.6 million, state-of-the-art Puritas Rapid Transit Station on the Red Line near West 150th Street.
May 24, The HealthLine project receives a prestigious Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. "The transit project has helped catalyze $4.7 billion in spin-off investment and 11.4 million square feet of new and planned development, offering a successful example of the economic leverage potential for bus-rapid transit (BRT)."
May 24, For the second year in a row, RTA’s bus safety program was named one of the best in North American by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
June 7, RTA and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) agree on a three-year pact that ties wage increases to the amount of revenue generated.
June 15, RTA breaks ground on a $3.3 million reconstruction of the Buckeye-Woodhill light-rail Rapid Station.
July 22, A major lightning strike does several million dollars of damage on rail signals from Hopkins Airport to the Puritas Station.
August, Thousands of buses are rerouted by the filming of The Avengers in downtown Cleveland.
August, RTA begins construction to add 166 parking spaces to the current 550 spaces at the Westlake Park-N-Ride lot.
Aug. 22, RTA bus and rail operators celebrate 555 years of safe, accident-free driving.
Aug. 31, RTA introduces Quick Response (QR) codes.
Sept. 8, RTA receives an Emerald Award from Crain’s Cleveland Business for its efforts in sustainability.
Sept. 19-20, RTA participates in a national event — Don’t 'X' Out Public Transportation — to highlight what federal proposed cuts of 30 percent to transportation would look like. Large red Xs were painted on RTA vehicles to send the message.
Sept. 22, RTA and the City of Cleveland Heights introduce two new solar-powered bus shelters.
Sept. 29, RTA and the FTA introduce a new major shelter in a redeveloped downtown Euclid.
Oct. 11, RTA opens a new $9.4 million, ADA-accessible station at East 55th Street. It moved to the southeast corner of I-490 and East 55th Street, making for a more visible landmark and providing easier access to pedestrians and vehicles.
Oct. 8-12, Track repairs close the Cuyahoga River Viaduct. Buses replace trains from the West 25th Street Station to Tower City.
Nov. 1, RTA announces Public Transit Management Academy with CSU.
December, In summary, General Manager Joe Calabrese said, "We are closing out quite possibly the best year we have had in many years. Revenue is above budget, and expenses are below budget. We paid off some debt early, set up reserve accounts to help down the road, and are investing a greater percentage of our federal dollars in improving our infrastructure. Ridership is growing at a healthy rate, and we are about to increase services for our customers. The budget appears sustainable for a few years down the road."
Ridership increases again in 2011.


March 13, TSA awards RTA a Gold Standard for security.
March 17, Warm weather brings record turnout for St. Patrick's Day.
March 18, RTA adds 54 bus route to serve new VA facility on Brookpark Road.
April, Trolley operators dress like rock stars to mark Induction Week at Rock-N-Roll Hall.
April 17, RTA reaches agreement with ATU.
May 14, Horseshoe Casino opens on Public Square
June, RTA offers extra service for Marine Week on Public Square and North Coast Harbor,
June, RTA operators celebrate 670 years of safe driving
July 30, Joe Calabrese wins major public service award from Build Up Greater Cleveland.
Sept. 10, RTA offers expanded trolley service on evenings and weekends.
Sept. 19, Ground broken for new construction at the Cedar-University Rapid Station.
Nov. 27, Airport rail tunnel closes for 6 months for major upgrade.


Nov. 19, RTA Board approves major purchase of CNG buses.
Dec. 10, RTA unveils first renovated Red Line car interior.
Dec. 17, RTA Board approves new U-Pass program for Cuyahoga Community College.
Dec. 31, RTA operates rail service 24/7 for Public Square celebration.
Ridership up 2 percent, third straight year of increases.


Jan. 1, New Year starts with round-the-clock Rapid service.
Jan. 16, Cleveland Foundation sponsors a free day on RTA, ridership jumps 25 percent.
Jan. 27, RTA sponsors human trafficking awareness program.
Feb. 5, RTA signs fare agreements with neighboring transit agencies.
Feb. 18, Board approves the purchase of up to 436 three-position bike racks.
March 24-27, Bridge demolition closes part of Mayfield Road. The demolition will prepare the site for construction of the the new Little Italy-University Circle Rapid Station.
January-March, RTA survives brutal winter, ridership declines.
April 2, For the third year in a row, RTA recognized for Senior Management Diversity.
April 4, Tribe opens season with RTA Rally Alley.
June, Work begins at Lee-Van Aken Blue Line Station.
June 7, Massive East Side rail construction project begins.
July, RTA plays key role as Cleveland is chosen for 2016 RNC.
Aug. 9-16, RTA plays key role as Cleveland hosts Gay Games.
Aug. 28, Ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Cedar-University Station.
Sept. 12, RTA helps NOACA with first-ever Commuter Choice awards.
Oct. 9, CSU buys naming rights to new service on Clifton Blvd.
Oct. 11, Valerie McCall named to key national transit post.
Oct. 20, Calabrese named one of the most influential transit people of decade.
Oct. 21, RTA hosts public meeting for ODOT's Transit Needs Study.
Oct. 30, LeBron back in town, RTA beefs up service for home opener.
Dec. 8, Cleveland State Line debuts, Clifton Project completed.

Plan a Trip

Via Google Transit
(e.g. Hopkins Airport) Get current location
(e.g. Rivergate Park)

Close Trip Panel
Suggested Routes
Service Alerts

Northern Ohio Railway Museum

Updated Feb. 21, 2016.

New items are being added regularly.

Date Field