Riders board at the Brookpark Station

Try transit more often in 2016

As a New Year begins, there are two resolutions you can make to ensure that 2016 is a better year for you.

The first resolution -- try transit more often. You will save money if you do.

For most people, their biggest single expense is housing, whether they own or rent. Transportation is in second place – the cost of a car, insurance, gas and maintenance, and parking. If you commute daily, the wear and tear on your car can be significant – especially in winter.

The American Public Transportation Association reports that a Clevelander who commutes 15,000 miles a year can save $749 a month, or $9,536 a year. This is based on the Dec. 14 average gas cost of $2.01 per gallon, the cost of a monthly transit pass, the cost of parking, and living in a one-car household.

Another benefit is time savings. If your commute takes just 30 minutes each way, and you switch from driving to transit, you have just added an extra hour to each day to read, visit with friends, or study for school. And, you will be less stressed.

The second resolution is to connect with RTA on-line, and keep up-to-date on service interruptions that accompany winter storms.

Sign up for Commuter Alerts to learn about rail delays. Follow RTA on Twitter to receive reports on service delays and changes to bus and rail service. Both send messages to your mobile device. Commuter Alerts can also be sent to your e-mail address. To obtain other RTA news, 'LIKE' RTA on Facebook. Learn more mobile applications.

First the HeathLine, then the skates

RTA’s HealthLine, which runs 24/7 on Euclid Avenue, is the easiest way to reach the outdoor ice rink at Wade Oval in University Circle. It’s just a short walk from the Adelbert Road station.

The rink offers low-cost open skating on weekends through March 6, weather permitting. Hours are noon-7 p.m. Saturday and holidays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Learn-to-skate programs are held from noon-1 p.m. Saturdays. The rink can be rented for special events.

To check on the impact of current weather conditions, call 216-707-5033.

After skating, show your rink wristband for special discounts to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland History Center, and the Cleveland Orchestra Store.

Public hearing dates will be set soon

RTA will soon announce the dates for a series of public hearings, later this spring, to hear public feedback on proposals to increase fares, make minor service modifications, and change some Paratransit policies.

If you cannot attend a hearing, you can submit comments by e-mail and US mail. That information will be provided when the hearing dates are announced.

If approved by the Board of Trustees, the fare increase and service modifications would take place in late August.

Jan. 18: Ride RTA to free offerings on MLK holiday

Monday, Jan. 18, is a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

RTA offices will be closed, but bus and rail service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Many local museums will offer free admission or discounts. Most schools are closed, so students have many choices.

If you plan to visit more than one museum, you may want to buy an All-Day Pass, which offers unlimited ridership until 3 a.m. the next day.

Lakefront attractions

Admission is free at two lakefront attractions. The Great Lakes Science Center is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with regular admission charged for the IMAX Theater.

Staff at the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will see their busiest day of the year, with hours of 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. To reach these attractions:

University Circle

Most museums in University Circle are close to a stop on the HealthLine, which operates 24/7. To find details of a specific museum, go to their Web site. Most museums will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A list of University Circle attractions.

Jan. 30: Ride RTA to Tribe Fest in Flats

On Jan. 30, you can get a sneak peak at the 2016 Cleveland Indians.

Because of on-going construction at Progressive Field, the fourth annual Tribe Fest will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 2-7 p.m. at Aloft Cleveland Downtown, 1111 W. 10th St., just steps away from the Flats East Bank Station on RTA’s Waterfront Line.

Some activities will also be held next door, in the lobby of the Ernst and Young office tower.

Purchase tickets here.

The best way to stay warm is to ride the Rapid. Park free at an RTA station, buy an All-Day Pass, ride into the Tower City Station, and ride the Waterfront Line to the Flats East Bank Station. Service is every 15 minutes, from 9 a.m.-midnight.

And, while you have your future sluggers Downtown, get back on the Waterfront Line and ride to the Great Lakes Science Center or the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. You can also board the free C-Line trolley on Public Square near Tower City, and explore other parts of Downtown. The C-Line operates from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Public Library branches join RTA and others in Safe Place

Children and youth in crisis can now turn to staff at all 30 branches of the Cleveland Public Library for help.

The Library has joined the Safe Place program -- with local partners RTA, Bellefaire JCB's Homeless and Missing Youth Program, and the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Next Step/Westhaven -- to provide safe havens and resources for youth in crisis.

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that educates thousands of young people every year about the dangers of running away or trying to resolve difficult, threatening situations on their own.

Safe Place locations display yellow and black diamond-shaped Safe Place sign. These locations extend the doors of a youth service agency or emergency shelter throughout the community.

The Library joins RTA as Safe Place destinations. Library staff and RTA drivers are trained to call Bellefaire JCB’s Homeless Youth Program or Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Next Step/Westhaven, depending on the geographical location. Placards in the library branches, on buses and other community sites, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, provide students with further information about the program.

Safe Place makes every bus and train a refuge for youths seeking help. RTA will help them find trained counselors who can assist them. RTA operates more than 500 buses and rail cars throughout the county. Each vehicle carries a Safe Place decal.

Bellefaire JCB’s Homeless and Missing Youth program offers street outreach, victim services and emergency host homes. The program provides outreach through schools, police departments, peers helping peers and community partners. Through Bellefaire JCB’s grant-funded Street Outreach program, trained staff canvas the streets to seek out homeless and runaway youth throughout Cuyahoga County and encourage them to come off the streets and accept the services of the Homeless Youth Program and any other aspect of the agency’s continuum of services.

Bellefaire JCB is among the nation’s largest, most experienced child welfare agencies, providing a variety of behavioral health, substance abuse, education and prevention services. Each year, Bellefaire helps 15,000 youth and their families achieve resiliency, dignity and self-sufficiency through more than 25 programs that include child and adolescent outpatient counseling, school-based counseling, prevention and early intervention, homeless youth program, domestic and international adoption, foster care, and residential treatment.

New trolleys have arrived

Look for new trolleys to be in service soon. The first of 12 new Gillig trolleys has arrived, and others are expected shortly. Each is 35 feet long, and can accommodate more customers than the current trolleys. Trolleys now in use will celebrate their 10th anniversary in April, and may be retired after Republican National Convention, July 18-22.

Follow Customer Code of Conduct, ensure safe trips

  • Pay the required fare for all trips.
  • Allow room for boarding, keep aisles clear.
  • Take only one seat.
  • Use headphones with audio devices.
  • Speak softly on cell phones.
  • Refrain from using profane language.
  • Be considerate to fellow passengers.
  • Follow all posted safety and restriction signage.
  • Place trash in receptacles at stations and stops.
  • Exit through the rear door on buses.

Misconduct on a public transit system is a crime. If you follow these rules, everyone on board will have a clean, safe trip.

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