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Bus Maps Show Diverging Visions Of Greater Cleveland RTA's Future

An RTA bus crosses the Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland in 2013.
An RTA bus crosses the Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland in 2013.

As part of its system redesign study, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is asking riders to consider two very different maps of what bus service could look like in Cuyahoga County.

One offers widespread service throughout the county but at the cost of longer wait times. The other provides frequent bus routes in the urban core but fewer lines in the outer-ring suburbs.

RTA is collecting feedback through an online survey, and agency staff are holding public meetings throughout the county.

But it’s not an election, nor is it an either-or choice, Director of Service Management Joel Freilich said. These maps are hypotheticals, part of the agency’s process of learning what the community values.

“Once we understand those priorities through this year-long process, we then can get into the business of designing real networks that we really propose to operate,” Freilich said.

So far, there’s been no resounding preference for one map over the other.

“It’s too early to say what the online results will be,” he said. “The in-person meetings, again, we are hearing both points of view.”

The consultant leading the redesign study Tweeted last week that the team isn’t getting enough input yet, directing people to the online survey.

The agency is about halfway through its month of public meetings. Several more are scheduled this week and next.


Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.