CLEVELAND -- "We may not be part of the problem, but we are definitely going to be part of the solution."
That is the feeling of six area transit general managers, as they plan to meet Tuesday, July 18, 2000, to sign an unprecedented agreement for free transfers. This will help long-distance commuters fight the rising cost of gasoline.
"With this agreement, we are helping those who need it most," says Joe Calabrese, CEO and General Manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). "This is a bold new step in serving the transit customers of Northeast Ohio."
Customers only have to pay fares in the county where they begin their trip. After that, all transfers are free. For example, persons riding from Lake County to downtown Cleveland would pay Laketran in the morning, and RTA in the afternoon. A person could conceivably board a bus in Vermillion, pay the Lorain County Transit fare, and ride all the way to Madison in Lake County.
Signing the agreement are:
- Joe Calabrese, CEO & General Manager, RTA.
- Deborah S. Mohr, General Manager, Lorain County Transit (LCT).
- John E. Jones, Director, Medina County Transit (MCT).
- Robert A. Trimble, Brunswick City Manager and head of the Brunswick Transit Alternative (BTA).
- Robert K. Pfaff, General Manager, Metro RTA, Summit County.
- Frank Polivka, General Manager, Laketran, Lake County.
The RTA Board approved a six-month pilot project on June 27, 2000.
"We now have a transfer policy that promotes public transportation," Calabrese says. "This will help job access, as there are many persons who cross county lines to find employment. Out-of-county riders also use RTA to attend recreation events. On a recent Saturday, 40 percent of the cars in the West Park rapid lot were from out of the county."
Riders must be sure to ask the bus operator for a transfer when they pay their fare.
Lorain County Transit (LCT)
Starting immediately, riders can connect to Cleveland on three routes.
- The East Route, which ends at Miller Road in Avon Lake, connects to RTA #31X. This service will be dropped after Aug. 7, 2000.
- The #11 Elyria-North Ridgeville Route connects to RTA's #75X and #63F on Lorain Road at the county line.
- The #33 Cleveland Link takes riders to Hopkins International Airport, where they can board the Red Line Rapid Transit.
"This is a wonderful collaborative effort among all the area transit systems," says Deborah S. Mohr, LCT General Manager. "It will be extremely beneficial to all our communities. I am excited about it."
LCT was established in 1974 by the Lorain County Commissioners. The system operates 32 vehicles on fixed route and demand response. There are six administrative staff members and 40 operators through a vendor.
For more service information, call 440-233-7868, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. After hours and on weekends, call 440-949-2525 or 440-324-6955.
Brunswick Transit Alternative (BTA)
Brunswick riders can connect to RTA #451 at Laurel Square, at Rt. 42 and Laurel Road, in the City of Brunswick.
"We are looking forward to this improvement," says Robert A. Trimble, Brunswick City Manager and head of the Brunswick Transit Alternative. "This is a real step forward. It should improve ridership numbers for both Brunswick and Cleveland."
Formed eight years ago, the BTA contracts with a private vendor to operate two fixed routes in Brunswick, Brunswick Hills and Strongsville. Questions? Call 330-273-5855 or 330-225-9144, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Medina County Transit (MCT)
Medina County Transit (MCT) offers demand response service. Call 330-723-9670.
"This agreement is great," says MCT Director John E. Jones. "We finally have a transfer agreement that means something. Our riders will enjoy seamless transfers between counties. The transit systems are starting to work together, and that should really open things up."
MCT, formed in 1992, serves the entire county with 20 vehicles and 35 employees.
Metro Regional Transit Authority, Summit County
METRO will continue to operate the North Coast Express, #X60 and #X61, a daily direct service from downtown Akron to downtown Cleveland. The service carried more than 6,000 passenger trips in June.
Riders can also connect to RTA by taking the #101 Richfield-Bath to the VA Hospital in Brecksville, or by taking the #103 Twinsburg-Hudson to the county line loop (also called the Oakwood loop).
"Some of our riders work in Lake County and Medina County, and they can now connect to those systems for free," says Robert F. Pfaff, General Manager of Metro RTA. "We are pleased that we are now able to reduce the cost of traveling in four counties. Our riders are really going to benefit. This is a great service."
Formed in 1969, Metro RTA serves Summit County with 217 vehicles and 354 employees.
Customers seeking ridership information can call 1-800-227-9905.
The many Lake County residents who work in Cuyahoga County have a number of public transit choices. Laketran offers:
- One rush-hour bus from Madison to Lakeland Community College to Public Square.
- Three rush-hour buses from the Mentor Civic Center to Public Square.
- Six buses on the #12 leave East 314th Street and Vine Street, Shoregate Shopping Center and the Lakeland Boulevard Park-N-Ride in Wickliffe for Downtown Cleveland.
- Two buses on #13 leave from Wickliffe and Willoughby Hills for Downtown Cleveland.
- The #2 links to RTA #6 at Euclid Avenue and East 276th Street.
- The #3 links to RTA #39X and 39F at Shoregate in Willowick.
- The #6 links to Cleveland RTA #94 at the Loehmann Plaza in Willoughby Hills.
"Many Lake County residents work in Cleveland," says Laketran General Manager Frank Polivka. "In this age of rising gas costs, this is a tremendous asset to everyone, and a great boost to our customer service. This is a huge step to helping us gain ground in our respective markets, and should help us attract more riders."
The Lake County Regional Transit Authority was formed in 1974. The name was change to Laketran in 1979. The agency serves all of Lake County with 91 vehicles and 180 employees. Call 1-888-Laketran.
RTA has been serving Cuyahoga County's 1.4 million residents since 1975. RTA's 3,000 employees operate 754 buses on 1,100 route miles, and 108 rail cars on 34 miles of track. In 1999, more than 59 million passengers rode RTA's trains, buses, Community Circulators and paratransit vehicles
For schedule information, 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, or visit RTA's Web site.