Riders at Tower City faregates

RTA ridership up for third straight year

In 2013, RTA ridership rose for the third straight year. Overall ridership was up 2 percent, or about 1 million more rides, when compared to 2012. The largest ridership gains came in:

  • HealthLine, 5 percent
  • Red Line, 3 percent. The Red Line finished 2013 with its highest ridership total in more than 25 years.

"2013 was a great year," says Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO and General Manager. "Our staff took advantage of many opportunities, and continued to provide high-quality service. We are poised to do an even greater job in 2014."

In 2013, RTA ridership received a boost from Innerbelt construction, an influx of visitors for the National Senior Games, new attractions and hotels downtown, 24/7 service on New Year's Eve, and increased service on trolleys, buses and the Waterfront Line.

Red Line riders saw improved service, after RTA completed major track upgrades to the S-curve on the West Side, and the Airport tunnel.

Total trolley ridership in December 2013 was 107,444, an incredible 101 percent increase over December 2012. Average daily ridership was 4,900, nearly twice as much as last year. The largest growth came on the NineTwelve trolley, which increased more than 200 percent from last December.

Cleveland Foundation gifts help many riders

On Jan. 16, RTA officials saw a 25 percent ridership increase on the first free day in almost 20 years. The event, sponsored by Cleveland Foundation, was part of its 100th anniversary celebration. Here are the numbers:

  • Bus & Train: Up 25 percent overall.
  • HealthLine: Up 41 percent.
  • Customer Service Call Center: A 54 percent increase in calls, with 1,700 total – even busier than St. Patrick's Day.
  • Web site usage: There were 20,600 visits -- a 40 percent increase.

The Foundation is planning one community gift each month, and February’s community gift will also affect those who ride RTA to weekend entertainment. On Saturday, Feb. 22, admission is free to the Great Lakes Science Center. On Sunday, Feb. 23, admission is free to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

To reach these attractions:

RTA joins Cleveland in thanking the Cleveland Foundation for these generous gifts.

Consider buying an RTA pass -- lots of choices

When you decide which fare media to use to ride RTA, be aware of all of your choices – All-Day Pass, 7-Day Flex Pass or Monthly Pass.

If you ride RTA regularly, the Monthly Pass may be the ticket for you. The savings can be substantial.

Assume you ride an RTA bus or Rapid to and from work five days a week, for 22 days a month, with no transfers.    If you pay cash, the rides would cost you $2.25 one-way, or $4.50 a day, or $99 a month.

If you buy a Monthly Pass for $85, you would save $14 a month, or $168 a year. All transfers are free, and there is no limit as to how often you can use it.

The savings are even greater for those who use RTA’s Park-N-Ride service. A month’s worth of rides with a cash fare costs $110, but a Monthly Park-N-Ride Pass is only $95. That’s a savings of $15 a month, or $180 a year. All transfers are free, and there is no limit as to how often you can use it. Passes for Park-N-Ride service are also good on all other RTA buses and Rapid cars.

Savings is just one of many benefits of using an RTA pass. Speed and ease of use are two others.

Riders who use RTA fare media board a bus 4 times faster than those who use cash. The farebox swipe reader is fast and dependable. With each pass – All-Day, 7-Day Flex, or Monthly – you just dip once to validate, and after that, just swipe. There is less wear-and-tear on the farecard, and it never leaves your hand.

All passes are easy to obtain.

  • If your employer is signed up with Commuter Advantage, you can obtain them at work, with money deducted from your paycheck using pre-tax dollars.
  • All RTA fare media is sold at local retail outlets.
  • All RTA fare media is on sold at the Customer Service Center in the Rotunda of the Tower City Station, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • Monthly Passes are sold at Customer Service Kiosks (CSKs) in key passenger facilities along the Red Line, from the 20th of the month to the 5th of the month.
  • All RTA fare media can be purchased on-line.

Brite Winter Festival heats up Ohio City Feb. 15

RTA provides the easiest transportation to the fifth annual Brite Winter Festival, an outdoor winter celebration of art and music, from 4-11 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. Most activities will be near the West Side Market, at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue.

In 2013, attendees saw 15-20 art installations and listened to 48 musical groups on 6 stages. This year’s festival features 77 musical groups on 4 stages, with four bonfires to keep you warm. Admission is free. Art installations will be present at many sites in that area.

The easiest way to reach the festival site is to ride the Red Line to the West 25th Street Rapid Station, and walk a block. Also serving that area are six bus routes -- 20, 22, 35, 51, 79, 81.

Some Ohio City merchants will provide related activities indoors until 1 a.m.

Help RTA support a regional vision

RTA supports Vibrant NEO -- an effort to bring more regional and sustainable planning to Greater Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio. RTA officials believe this effort is important to the future of this region in many ways. Please sign up to show your support. There’s no cost, and it takes only a few minutes.

Lettuce take you to your favorite meal

RTA’s downtown trolleys are ready to take you to fine dining at a discount, during the 7th annual Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

The week runs from Friday, Feb. 21, to Sunday, March 2. About 50 restaurants, from West Ninth Street to East 21st Street, and from Gateway to Lake Erie, will offer $15 lunch specials and a $30 three-course dinner.

RTA trolley rides are “free with a smile” from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. on weekends. Trolleys operate on four different routes, but all stop in front of the Horseshoe Casino on Public Square. Transfers from the Rapid to trolleys are always convenient.

Travel training may benefit you in many ways

RTA offers travel training -- an individualized and/or group instruction designed to teach seniors and people with disabilities to travel safely and independently on fixed-route public transit.

You can learn travel skills for following a specific route, typically to a school or a job site. Each person's needs and abilities are different, so training techniques and time devoted will vary with each unique individual.

Travel training can help you obtain:

  • More choices and flexibility for travel
  • Greater self-esteem and independence
  • Better access to employment, job training, recreation and post-secondary education.

If this program interests you, complete a referral form, or call 216-781-4613.

For your safety -- Emergency procedures on light-rail trains

All riders on the Blue, Green and Waterfront lines should take time to read these emergency evacuation procedures. They are posted inside every rail car.

  • Listen for instructions from the operator, and follow them.
  • Exit the train in an orderly manner.
  • Help those in need, such as children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.
  • Leave large packages behind.
  • Exit instructions, written in red, are located on a panel above each door.

To open the side doors:

  • To release the closed doors, push the red knob over the door.
  • To open the doors, place one hand on each of the red circles on the doors, and push.

After the doors are open:

  • On bridges and other elevated structures, only open the doors that face the tracks.
  • If there are downed wires, remain in the train.

If you step out and are not at a station platform:

  • Be aware of trains operating on nearby tracks, and stay clear of them.

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