Board approves fare increases to balance 2016 budget

CLEVELAND -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board of Trustees today approved fare increases that are designed to balance the 2016 budget.

 Board approves fare increases to balance 2016 budget

Jun 7, 2016

CLEVELAND -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board of Trustees today approved a set of fare increases and fare policy changes. These, when combined with the revised service plan presented by the General Manager, are expected to balance the Board-approved 2016 budget.

The fare changes and bus service changes will take effect Aug. 14, 2016; the rail service changes will take effect in September 2016. 

The decision came after 16 public hearings were held over the last five months to seek public comment on the proposal.

The 2016 budget, approved by the RTA Board in December, necessitated a $7 million adjustment through a combination of service modifications and fare increases.

RTA Board President George Dixon said, “RTA staff and the Board of Trustees have worked hand-in-glove over the last several months on the proposals brought before the public. We listened to their comments and made adjustments to the initial recommendations.”

"The last thing RTA wants to do is raise fares or cut service,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese, “but it is felt that today’s decision stabilizes RTA’s budget with as minimal an impact to our customers as possible.”

Calabrese said that the adopted plan falls slightly short of the $7 million savings goal, but that the two-step fare increase adopted by the Board allows the Authority to make the budget work.

  • The original fare proposal would have generated an estimated $3.5 million for RTA. The adopted plan is expected to generate $3.0 million.
  • The original service proposal would have saved $4 million in annual operating costs and affected 1.8% of RTA customers. After public input, today's proposal yields savings of $3 million annually and affects only 1% of RTA customers. 

The fare adjustment is the first in seven years. It increases bus and rapid fares by 25 cents in August 2016 and again in August 2018. The total increase in revenue for each 25-cent adjustment is projected to be $3.5 million annually.

Service adjustments modified

Calabrese said that significant public comment on route modifications caused the staff to revise its initial recommendations. Today’s decision keeps several routes operating, but at slightly modified frequency.

  • Route #2 on East 79th Street -- originally slated for elimination due to low ridership -- was maintained. However, the adopted plan calls for the current schedule to be adjusted to begin service one hour later, at approximately 5:15 a.m., and end one hour earlier, at approximately 7 p.m.
  • The #8 Cedar route proposal was to eliminate weekday service after 6 p.m. and to eliminate all weekend service. The current plan is to operate weekdays and weekends until 9 p.m.
  • The extensions to Lakeview Tower and Tremont Pointe of the #81 Tremont route, which were proposed to be eliminated due to the high cost per rider, will be retained on days and hours to be determined soon. 
  • The Waterfront Line on weekdays will operate every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes during the mid-day, with service ending at 7 p.m., except on summer Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Fare increase summary

Here is a summary of the fare increase, with the first increase effective Aug. 14, 2016.

  • The bus/rapid cash fare will increase from the current $2.25 to $2.50, and then to $2.75 in 2018.
  • Senior/Disabled fares will increase from the current $1.00 to $1.25, and then to $1.35 in 2018.
  • Park-N-Ride Bus will increase from the current $2.50 to $2.75, and $3.25 in 2018.
  • The regular All-Day pass will increase from $5.00 to $5.50 in August and $6.00 in 2018.
  • The Monthly Pass for bus, rapid and HealthLine will increase from $85.00 to $95.00 and then to $105.00 in 2018.
  • 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. In addition, Paratransit customers, in the adopted proposal, will be able to purchase All-Day, 7-Day and Monthly passes at a slightly higher rate than regular fares. Those passes have not been available previously.
  • Paratransit policy changes: After Aug. 14, ADA customers must 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.

The current and future fare structures:

 CurrentAugust 2016August 2017August 2018August 2019
Cash Fares (Single ride, no transfer privilege)
Bus/Rapid/BRT$2.25$2.50 $2.75 
Senior/Disabled$1.00$1.25 $1.35 
Park-N-Ride Bus$2.50$2.75 $3.25 
Student K-12$1.50$1.75 $2.00 
Out-of-County$3.50$3.75 $4.25 
Tickets/Fare Cards (includes 2.5 hour transfer privilege)
Bus/Rapid/BRT - 5 Trip$11.25$12.50 $13.75 
Senior/Disabled - 5 Trip$5.00$6.25 $6.75 
Park-N-Ride - 5 Trip$12.50$13.75 $16.25 
Student K-12 - Single Trip$1.50$1.75 $2.00 
Student K-12 - 5 Trip$7.50$8.75 $10.00 
Passes - Unlimited rides within Cuyahoga County (includes 2.5 hour transfer privilege)
Daily Passes
Bus/Rapid/BRT/P-N-R All-Day$5.00$5.50 $6.00 
Senior/Disabled All-Day$2.50$2.75 $3.00 
Accompanied Children All-Day (ages 6-12)$2.50$2.75 $3.00 
Student All-Day K-12$4.00$4.50 $5.00 
1-Day Cleveland Pass$5.00$5.50 $6.00 
2-Day Cleveland Pass$10.00$11.00 $12.00 
4-Day Cleveland Pass$20.00$22.00 $24.00 
Paratransit All-Day (New) $7.00$7.50$8.00$8.50
7-Day Passes
Bus/Rapid/BRT$22.50$25.00 $27.50 
Senior/Disabled$10.00$12.50 $13.50 
Park-N-Ride$25.00$27.50 $32.50 
Paratransit (New) $27.50$30.00$32.50$35.00
Monthly Passes
Bus/Rapid/BRT$85.00$95.00 $105.00 
Senior/Disabled$38.00$48.00 $51.00 
Park-N-Ride$95.00$105.00 $120.00 
Paratransit (New) $105.00$110.00$115.00$120.00