Rider's Digest -- December 2017

 Rider's Digest -- December 2017

Dec. 3: MetroHealth Line buses begin to roll

On Dec. 3, riders will begin to benefit from a new partnership between RTA and the MetroHealth System. MetroHealth has bought naming rights to rebrand the 51 family of routes as Bus Rapid Transit.

The new MetroHealth Line will offer commuters an upgraded ride on 20 new, specially designed vehicles fully branded with the MetroHealth logo. More than 400 bus stop signs and 37 shelters will also display the new logo along the routes.

The 51-A, 51-B and 51-C operate more than 200 bus trips per day and link the MetroHealth campus with both Downtown Cleveland to the north and the neighborhoods and suburbs to the south. MetroHealth has five health-care facilities along the route.

The routes serve 2.1 million customers a year in the Ohio City, Archwood/Denison and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods of Cleveland and the suburbs of Broadview Heights, Garfield Heights, Independence, Parma, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, Seven Hills, Strongsville and Valley View.

The routes have the second-highest bus ridership in the RTA system, second only to the HealthLine.

Officials said that RTA and MetroHealth “have a shared vision to create a better West 25th Street and a more livable Cleveland.”

Revenue from the MetroHealth Line sponsorship will be used to upgrade landscaping and bus stations along the route.

RTA is also working with the funders, the City and the neighborhoods to add some exclusive rush-hour bus lanes and traffic signal prioritization, with the goal to make the MetroHealth Line faster and more reliable.


The move solidifies RTA’s role as a national leader in selling naming rights. In 2008, RTA became the first transit system in the nation to sell naming rights sponsorships to its assets. That was for the HealthLine. In December 2014, RTA launched the Cleveland State Line. Both are Bus Rapid Transit lines.

Dec. 3: New RTA timetables take effect Dec. 3

Some bus and Rapid routes will see minor changes, effective Sunday, Dec. 3. Pick up new timetables for the Red Line, 14, 22, 26, 51, 53F, 55-55A-55B-55C Cleveland State Line, 76, 246, 251 and 263.

New timetables are posted on the Schedules page of the RTA Web site. Copies will be available at RTA’s Main Office, and the Tower City Customer Service Center.

Before Dec. 3, data on RTA’s trip planner will be updated. To order a timetable by mail, call the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500. Real-time information for the new timetables will be available as soon as it is effective.

Dec. 2-3: Holiday Circlefest expands to two-day event

The HealthLine is always the best way to reach events in the popular University Circle area. Just ride to the decorated “Museum Stop” HealthLine Station near Stearns Road and Stokes Boulevard. From there, you can walk to the Holiday CircleFest on Wade Oval, which is expanding to 2 days this year.

Saturday, Dec. 2:

  • Noon-5 p.m., Shop for unique gifts at the new indoor Holiday Market. Outside, enjoy carriage rides, ice skating and ice carvings.

Sunday, Dec. 3:

  • 1-7 p.m., Some nearby museums offer free admission. Enjoy carriage rides, ice skating and ice carvings.
  • 5:30-6 p.m., Winter light lantern procession, coordinated by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

If you need an address for your GPS, Wade Oval is at 10820 East Blvd.

Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Happy holidays! Service set for Christmas and New Year's

Friday, Dec. 22, Christmas Eve observed. RTA operates regular weekday service. Offices closed.

Saturday, Dec. 23, RTA operates a Saturday schedule. The RTAnswerline is open from 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Offices closed.

RTA operates a Sunday/holiday schedule on these dates:

  • Sunday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. Offices closed.
  • Monday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day. Offices closed.
  • Monday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day. Offices closed.

Some services are open 24/7.

Jan. 12, 2018: Nominations due for GM award

Nominations are due Jan. 12, 2018, for the General Manager’s Customer Service Award, which recognizes employees or employee groups for exceptional customer service.

The Award is given annually several recipients. All RTA employees are eligible.

External or internal customers can nominate employees. Just complete the nomination form and submit it no later than Jan. 12, 2018. The General Manager will review all nominations and make the final selection of award recipients.

RTA launches Fraud Hotline

In an on-going effort to more closely monitor expenses and reduce waste, RTA’s has launched a 24/7 Fraud Hotline – 216-350-5130.

You can also contact RTA via the Internet, and leave information. Just click here.All information is confidential, and you are not required to identify yourself.

“Nationally, 40 percent of frauds are uncovered by tips,” said Joe Calabrese, RTA’s CEO and General Manager. “The sooner we are made aware of a fraud, the quicker can we stop it. We have many internal controls, but more eyes are always better.”

RTA does not tolerate fraud, waste, abuse, theft or ethical violations.

“We are committed to managing every taxpayer and customer-generated dollar as if it was coming out of our own pocket,” Calabrese said. “We also expect our employees and our contractors to have uncompromising honesty and strong personal integrity.”

If you see or suspect wrongdoing by a contractor, business partner, vendor or employee, call the Hotline at 216-350-5130, or go here.

Fare collection modified for HealthLine riders

RTA is exploring options to improve its proof-of-payment fare collection process for HealthLine customers. The process was established in 2008.

Much of the HealthLine fare inspection is now being done by the Operator at the farebox on the vehicle, with assistance at various stations and times by other RTA staff and Transit Police.

As always, to speed up the boarding process, use the ticket vending machines on the platform to purchase and activate fare media before boarding. Plan to swipe all active tickets in the farebox onboard the vehicle, or use RTA’s mobile ticketing app, and your phone becomes your farecard.

Transit Police continue to request to inspect your valid proof-of-payment before you board the vehicle.

Initially, this new method may slow down operations, but over time, RTA expects to again be able to provide the most efficient service without impairing on-time performance.

On Oct. 30 – the last day of former fare collection process -- on-time performance for the HealthLine was 88 percent. That dropped to 70 percent as soon as the new system began, but after 13 days, it climbed to 91 percent. RTA monitors on-time performance daily.

“Watching every penny has always been important to RTA. Now, with significant cuts in funding, it’s even more important,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese. “We are evaluating this method to determine if it can improve operational efficiency, reduce the cost of enforcement, or hopefully, both.”

Green Line riders enjoy new Lee-Shaker Station

Green Line riders are enjoying a $1.7 million upgrade to the Lee-Shaker Station. Officials from Shaker Heights and RTA cut a ribbon to open the improved facility on Oct. 17.

The station, at the intersection of Shaker Boulevard and Lee Road in Shaker Heights, remained open during 11 months of construction. It is on the oldest stretch of track in Cleveland, where rail service is more than 100 years old.

The station is used by many riders, including students from Beaumont School and Shaker Heights High School.

Crews demolished the existing station and platform, and built new:

  • Waiting platform, waiting shelters and lighting
  • Signage.
  • Railings, sidewalks and landscaping.
  • A new safety security system, with cameras and emergency call boxes.

A new full-depth track replacement was also installed through the station platform areas. The station is now fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Background.

Prepare now for bad-weather commuting issues

Winter officially arrives Dec. 21, but cold weather is already here. RTA offers special services to keep you going when bad weather affects transit performance.

  • RTA Web site: Bookmark the rail station you use, and the bus or train routes you use. Service Alerts and other info are listed there.
  • Transit app: Download the transit app for either iPhone or Android and get real-time information about your bus or train.
  • Social media: For last-minute changes, “Like” RTA on Facebook, and follow RTA on Twitter.
  • Newsletters: Read the monthly Riders Digest and sign up for RTA’s twice-a-month e-newsletter.
  • Follow the news: Local TV and radio stations often give morning traffic reports that include RTA updates.

Snow, freezing rain and ice are facts of life in Northeastern Ohio. Prepare now for your daily commute, and your ride will be more reliable. Use mobile ticketing to make your commute even more stress-free.