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From the GM: RTA could be key to smooth travel for Convention Week

Clevelanders are rolling out the red carpet for the 50,000 persons attending the Republican National Convention July 18-21.

Some streets will be closed for security reasons, and there may be increased traffic congestion, so the Rapid will be your best bet. We invite commuters and visitors alike to stay “car-free” and ride the Rapid Downtown. Enjoy the “new” Public Square, and join in the excitement of being in the national spotlight.

All RTA services will be in full operation. With the help of outside funding, trolley service will operate every 5 minutes, and trolley service has been extended until 1 a.m.

Hundreds of volunteers from the host committee, RTA and other groups, will guide visitors as they explore our city. We ask that all our customers pitch in. If you see someone who looks a bit lost, offer them guidance or direct them to a nearby volunteer.

Cleveland is a city known for its Midwest hospitality. Our goal is that when these 50,000 persons leave Cleveland, they will “sing our praises” for years to come. This will further increase the growing tourism business here.

Of course, security is on everyone’s mind. Remember: If you see something, say something to a nearby officer, or call Transit Police, 216-566-5163.

And finally, please come Downtown on the last weekend in July, when a free Cleveland Orchestra Concert on Public Square highlights a major appreciation event.

It’s a great time to be part of our great city.

Joe Calabrese

Using public transit during the Republican Convention

More than 50,000 persons are expected to visit Cleveland in July for the Republican National Convention. Whether you are a daily commuter or a first-time visitor, using RTA will be an important part of your week. It will be an exciting time in Downtown.

Here are the two most important tips for you.

  • Take the train. Buses and trolleys may be slowed by traffic congestion, protests and detours, but the Rapid will be not be affected by those issues.
  • Buy a pass ahead of time. RTA offers a special 7-Day Pass -- $20 for unlimited rides during Convention Week only. Buy the pass at shopRTA.com/rncpass. For group sales, send e-mail here, or call 216-566-5220. Other fare media is sold at Red Line stations, Tower City and HealthLine stations -- just look for the red ticket vending machines.

Here are some other tips to help you get around.

  1. Crowd control. Even though the Convention itself is 4 days – July 18-21 – people will start arriving several days before the event, and may stay for several days after the Convention ends. This could affect traffic conditions and restaurant availability.
  2. Fly CLE. RTA's Red Line offers direct service between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Tower City Station -- Downtown's central rail hub. The rail station is in the Airport's lower level, just below baggage claim. You never have to go outside. RTA's four rail lines serve the Tower City Station.
  3. Check daily. Each morning during the Convention, check for traffic and service alerts on individual bus and rail routes.
  4. Plan your route, using RTA's easy on-line trip planner.
  5. Trolleys: Thanks to RTA's Downtown business partners, trolleys are always free with a smile. And, thanks to Destin Cleveland and RNC Host committee, trolleys will run every 5 minutes instead of every 10. Trolleys are often your best bet for getting around. From Sunday-Thursday, July 17-21, RTA offers expanded trolley service, with frequency every 5 minutes, from 7 a.m.-1 a.m. Just look for the decorative trolley stop signs, and listen for the ding! ding! ding!
  6. HealthLine: This state-of-the-art bus rapid transit (BRT) system draws attention from around the world. The HealthLine operates 24/7, and serves Public Square, Playhouse SquareCleveland State University, and Euclid Avenue to University Circle, Cleveland's cultural diamond.
  7. If you stay in Cleveland for a few days before or after the Convention, know that trolley service operates every 10 minutes until 11 p.m. It's a great way to see the City.
  8. If you have questions, please ask. There will be experienced RTA staff in transit stations and at key locations Downtown. They are there to help you.
  9. You can also call the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500. It is staffed from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.

For up-to-date information:

Many fare, service changes coming Aug. 14

Effective Aug.14, you will see changes that RTA is making to resolve a projected $7 million shortfall in the operating budget. RTA worked to meet financial realities and minimize the impact on customers. It is estimated that less than 1 percent of riders will be affected by the service changes.

More details will appear in the August Rider’s Digest.

Fares: The current cash fare of $2.25 will rise to $2.50. The cost of the popular All-Day Pass will increase to $5.50. Other fare categories will be increased accordingly in August 2016, and again in August 2018. This is RTA’s first fare increase in seven years.

Paratransit fares will increase from the current $2.25 to $2.50, and then to $2.75 in 2017, $3.00 in 2018 and $3.25 in 2019. Three new Paratransit fare media categories – All-Day, 7-Day and Monthly -- are being introduced.

Paratransit policies: After Aug. 14, ADA customers pay the Senior/Disabled cash fare of $1.25 when using fixed-route service. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) will continue to ride free on Paratransit, but must pay the regular fare for fixed-route service.

Bus service: These bus routes will be eliminated: 43, 239 and the school routes of 751, 752 and 761. The span of service hours will be reduced for routes 2, 8, 79A and 86. RTA will discontinue part of routes 7, 32, 34, 37, 45, 78, 86 and 68. The Saturday frequency for the 77F is being changed, and deviations on the 81 will be from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. only.

Rail service: In September, the span of service hours will be reduced for the Waterfront Line and the Green Line. Frequency on the Waterfront Line will be reduced to 15 minutes during rush hour and 30 minutes mid-day.

These changes come after RTA completed a comprehensive public involvement process with 16 public hearings and numerous meetings with elected officials and community leaders. More than 500 persons offered comments.

July 4: Join RTA for fun at Settlers Landing Station

RTA will host its 11th annual Family Fest on Monday, July 4. The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Settlers Landing Station on the Waterfront Line, and a major fireworks display begins around 10 p.m.

Family fun includes a 12-piece Sousa band, refreshments sold on-site and of course, fireworks. Bring a blanket and grab a spot on the hillside for a great view of the show.

RTA makes travel to and from the Flats fast and convenient. Plan to come early, as a large crowd is expected. Park for free at a Rapid Station, ride the Rapid to the Tower City Station, and take the Waterfront Line to the Settlers Landing Station. Waterfront Line trains will run every 15 minutes, and will help everyone reach Tower City after the fireworks end.

You can also park in the Municipal Parking Lot by the Shoreway, board at the South Harbor Station, and ride the Waterfront Line to the event.

Keep yourself safe in summer crowds

Transit Police offer these tips to stay safe this summer, especially when you find yourself in congested traffic, or in large crowds.

  • Pedestrians: Use crosswalks, obey traffic signals and watch for vehicles. Avoid distractions, like texting or listening in headphones to music, while crossing the street. Be alert and listen for vehicles.
  • Everywhere you go: Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Transit riders: Secure your belongings; protect your electronic devices. On the Rapid, read the emergency evacuation procedures above the doors.
  • See Something, Say Something: Call Transit Police 24/7 at 216-566-5163, or download the free iWatchRTA app and report any safety or security concerns via text, video or photo.
  • Parking: Put your junk in the trunk.
  • Plan ahead. During special events, buses may detour off their regular routes. Check Service Alerts on rideRTA.com. Automated service on the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500, is available 24/7.
  • Listen to the radio for traffic updates.
  • Leave home early, and allow plenty of time for your trip.
  • Follow directions. Transit Police and RTA staff often work during special events to provide you with a safe, enjoyable trip. Transit Police will enforce regulations with uniformed and plainclothes officers. Your cooperation is appreciated.
  • Park legally. RTA offers plenty of free parking, but do not try to “squeeze in” if a lot is full. Look for an alternative station. Obey all signs. Transit Police will ticket and tow cars that block normal operations.
  • Bicycles are not permittedon trains that carry full loads.

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