Public transit may lose $18M a year in funding
By Joe Calabrese
CEO and General Manager
Public transit and Ohio counties face a serious financial challenge.
RTA has been informed that managed health-care services will not have to pay sales tax after July 1, 2017. RTA receives 1 percent of all sales tax revenue in the County.
Sales tax receipts are RTA’s largest revenue source, accounting for more than 60 percent of our total revenue each year.
This change will reduce RTA’s annual sales tax receipts by a whopping 8.2 percent, or $18 million per year, according to the State Budget Office.
RTA is not alone in this challenge. This loss in sales tax revenue will impact the State by more than $500 million annually, Ohio counties by more than $200 million annually, and the 8 transit systems that receive sales tax revenue by an estimated $38 million annually.
Our hope is that, because of the far-reaching impact of this change, someone in the State Legislature can come up with a solution.
If this problem is not fixed, it could result in a significant 10 percent reduction in RTA services, which would impact both our customers and our employees.
We are trying to raise awareness of this issue with the media and local elected officials. We urge you to write your State legislators and share your concerns.
RTA introduces new mobile ticketing app
Your next farecard could be as close as your cell phone.
RTA has launched a new way for you to pay for transit fares. With the RTA CLE app for mobile ticketing, you can skip the lines and pay from your phone. The RTA CLE app is free to download from the iPhone App Store and Android Google Play. The pilot program is also free to RTA.
With the new RTA CLE app, you can easily plan and pay for your trip on your phone. You can even use the app’s interactive map screen to coordinate you ride ahead of time. With a secure RTA CLE account, add your credit card information to pay for the pass, then use your pass to board transit or store it for later use with the app’s Ticket Manager feature.
“This mobile ticketing solution gives our riders a more convenient option for fare purchases and a more efficient way to plan their trip ahead of time,” said Joe Calabrese, CEO and General Manager. “We’re excited to continue to improve upon our rider experience and make traveling around Cleveland that much more convenient and better.”
The new app is powered by Passport, a leading mobile payments provider for transit and parking. Passport has launched mobile ticketing solutions in other cities, including Sacramento, CA, Jacksonville, FL, and Columbia, SC.
RTA raises fares for first time in 7 years
On Sunday, Aug. 14, RTA fares will rise by 25 cents a ride -- the first increase in 7 years. RTA's Board approved the fare increase last spring, after a series of public meetings. The increased revenue will help close a projected $7 million gap in the 2016 operating budget.
The cost of a one-way trip will rise from $2.25 to $2.50, and the cost of the popular Adult All-Day Pass increases from $5 to $5.50.
If you purchase a Monthly Pass, you'll see the increase when you buy your September Pass. The cost increases from $85 to $95.
Passes purchased before Aug. 14 will be honored until they expire. All passes are stamped with an expiration date.
Other cash fare changes are:
- Senior/Disabled, from $1 to $1.25.
- Park-N-Ride bus, from $2.50 to $2.75.
- Students, K-12, from $1.50 to $1.75.
- Out-of-County, from $3.50 to $3.75.
Go here for a list of all new fares.
Paratransit fares also increase, and several policies change.
Bus timetables change on Sunday, Aug. 14
On Aug. 14, a number of RTA bus timetables change, as RTA seeks to close a projected $7 million gap in the 2016 operating budget. Public hearings on these changes were held earlier this year.
Riders can pick up new timetables for the 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 22, 25, 26, 28-28A, 30, 32, 34, 37, 38, 39-39F, 40, 45, 48-48A, 49, 51, 51 all, 51A, 51B-C, 55 all, 75, 77F, 78, 79-79A, 81, 83, 86, 90F, 94, 246* and 251*. *As of presstime, it was not known when these buses will return to Superior Avenue on Public Square.
In September, hours of operation change for light-rail trains. Service for the Green Line will end after 9 p.m. Service for the Waterfront Line will end after 7 p.m. Weekday frequency for the Waterfront Line changes to 15 minutes during rush hour and 30 minutes mid-day.
Some routes are being discontinued
- 239 riders can use the 39F, a new branch to the Park-N-Ride.
- 43 and school routes 751, 752 and 761.
- 68 is being replaced, in part, by the realigned 86.
These bus routes deserve special mention.
7: Service is being discontinued on Alpha Drive, Highland Road and Beta Drive.
45: Service is being discontinued to and from North Royalton.
79-79A: The span of service on the "A" branch is being reduced to primarily rush hours only. School trips are being added, and the "B" designation is being dropped from trips via Tiedman Road.
81: Evening and weekend service is being discontinued on the Lakeview Terrace and West Seventh Street deviations
Where to obtain new timetables
- Go to www.rideRTA.com/routes.
- Data on RTA’s trip planner will be updated before Aug. 14.
- Stop by RTA’s Main Office, 1240 W. Sixth St.
- Visit RTA's Customer Service Center at the Tower City Station.
- To order a timetable by mail, call the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500.
New real-time route information will be available when the changes are effective.
Changes ahead for Paratransit customers
On Aug. 14, Paratransit customers will see several key changes.
- Paratransit fares will increase from the current $2.25 to $2.50.
- Three new Paratransit fare media categories – All-Day, 7-Day and Monthly -- are being introduced.
- 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 using fixed-route service.
Work begins on major track line at Tower City
Because of a necessary $8 million rehabilitation at the Tower City Station, you may have to slightly adjust your commuting habits. This is the first of three major projects planned over the next several years to upgrade all tracks in Tower City.
For years, Red Line customers have boarded trains on Track 8 for their evening commute to the West Side. From Aug. 1 through Thanksgiving, they will board on Track 7, an auxiliary platform at Tower City. The two tracks are actually side-by-side, but are separated by a wall. Track 7 has a separate entrance and boarding area.
All rail customers from the East Side, whose destination is Tower City, will get off at Track 7, and use a separate exit into Tower City.
To enter the Track 7 platform, go the Public Square level of Tower City. Use the EXIT door next to Victoria's Secret. Both stairs and an elevator lead to Track 7.
Special signage will be in place. RTA staff will be on hand to assist you during the transition.
There's so much to do on RTA in August
Latino Arts & Culture Celebration -- Noon-midnight, Aug. 6, Voinovich Bicentennial Park, 800 E. Ninth St. at Lake Erie. Ride the Waterfront Line to the North Coast Harbor Station. The event includes the colorful Puerto Rican Parade.
Edgewater Live -- From 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 and 11, come to Edgewater Park in the Cleveland Metroparks for music, fun, food and sand.