May 9, 2001: RTA to use hybrid electric vehicles on Euclid Corridor

May 9, 2001

CLEVELAND -- Officials of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) are going high-tech by using hybrid electric vehicles when the "new" Euclid Avenue opens in 2006. (The actual date was October 2008).

That means there will be no need to hang miles of wire along Cleveland's major thoroughfare. The wires would have powered the trackless trolley-style coaches, a major component of the $292-million Euclid Corridor Transportation Project (ECTP). (The actual cost was $200 million).

Cleveland is one of 10 cities being used to showcase new technology -- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Much of Euclid Avenue will receive a facelift from store-front to storefront, from Public Square to East Cleveland. The project is funded by RTA, the City of Cleveland, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The new vehicle is being included in a revised environmental assessment for the Euclid Corridor project. The assessment is expected to be submitted to the FTA this summer.

"It is a futuristic vehicle for a futuristic project," says Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO and General Manager. "This technology was not even available when the Euclid Corridor Project was conceived."

Calabrese says the vehicle offers these benefits:

  • Because its power is not dependant on overhead wires, it offers greater flexibility and expandability.
  • It eliminates concern about the visual impact of overhead electric wires.
  • The vehicles are environmentally friendly and quiet to operate.
  • RTA will save an estimated $38 million to install the guide wires.
  • RTA will save both capital and operating dollars when compared to previously anticipated technology.

The vehicles use a low-sulfur diesel engine that drives a generator to produce electricity powering the operation. It is 60-feet long, as opposed to standard 40-foot buses, with an articulation (bellows) near the center. It would have a low floor, for fast and easy boarding, with doors on both sides.

Calabrese says RTA has discussed the vehicle change with government agencies and local stakeholders, and all are supportive.

Other aspects of the Euclid Corridor project -- such as the roadway and streetscape design -- remain the same.

Clevelanders with questions about the project can call Kamla Lewis at 216-685-1740, send e-mail to, or visit

RTA background

RTA's mission is to enhance the quality of life in Greater Cleveland by providing outstanding, cost-effective public transportation services. RTA's 3,000 employees operate 754 buses on 1,100 route miles, and 108 rail cars on 34 miles of track. Bus operators drive more than 92,000 route miles every day, and RTA carries more than 45 percent of all public transit riders in Ohio. RTA's bus and rail fleet is the 13th largest in the nation, and RTA carries an average of 207,000 riders each weekday. In 2000, more than 59 million passengers rode RTA's trains, buses, Community Circulators and Paratransit vehicles.

For more information

  • For personalized scheduling, call the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500, from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired can call 216-781-4271.
  • Commuters can visit RTA's Customer Service Center, 315 Euclid Ave., from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • Service information can be accessed at

MEDIA CONTACT: Jerry Masek, 216-566-5211