Beginning this fall, the rebranded route will offer commuters an upgraded ride on 20 new, specially designed vehicles fully branded with the MetroHealth logo. More than 400 bus stop signs and 37 shelters will also display the new logo along the routes.
The 51-A, 51-B and 51-C operate more than 200 bus trips per day and link the MetroHealth campus with both Downtown Cleveland to the north and the neighborhoods and suburbs to the south.
MetroHealth has five health care facilities along the route.
The routes serve the Ohio City, Archwood/Denison and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods of Cleveland and the suburbs of Broadview Heights, Garfield Heights, Independence, Parma, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, Seven Hills, Strongsville and Valley View.
“The number 51 bus route serves the West 25th Street Corridor and is among the most popular routes in the RTA system. It serves 2.1 million customers each year,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese.
“Most of the routes run 24/7 and have the second-highest bus ridership in the RTA system, second only to the HealthLine,” Calabrese said.
“We have a shared vision with RTA about creating a better West 25th Street and a more livable Cleveland,” said Akram Boutros, MD, President and CEO of MetroHealth. “The MetroHealth Line is one of the first steps of where we want to go with our campus transformation. We are not just building a new hospital, we are creating a livable green space for the community, and now we have a way to help all people get there.”
Revenue from the MetroHealth Line sponsorship will be used to upgrade landscaping and bus stations along the route.
RTA is also working with the funders, the City and the neighborhoods to add some exclusive rush-hour bus lanes and traffic signal prioritization, with the goal to make the MetroHealth Line faster and more reliable.
In 2008, RTA became the first transit system in the nation to sell naming rights sponsorships to its assets. That was for the HealthLine.
“Since its launch, the HealthLine has seen annual ridership increase by 60 percent and has generated more than $6.3 billion in economic development along Euclid Avenue,” Calabrese said.
In December 2014, RTA launched the Cleveland State Line, serving Downtown and several West Side communities. Since then, ridership has almost doubled.