Akron and Lake County transit agencies offer free rides to vote
Local public transit agencies are helping voters get to the polls this election season. Laketran is offering free rides from now through Election Day, and Akron METRO RTA will provide free bus rides on Nov. 8.
“For Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 8, we offer those free rides to anyone in our service area on our fixed route as well as on our demand response, our schedule ahead service,” said Akron METRO RTA’s Molly Becker. “We feel that it is an ideal solution to getting people to the polls to have their votes and, obviously, in turn have their voice matter.”
Voters will not need to provide voter registration or proof of residency to ride for free on Election Day, Becker said, and they can use the bus service all day with unlimited rides on fixed routes.
In Lake County, residents can already get free rides to the county board of elections office in Painesville for early in-person voting.
“Local route 1-9 customers simply need to inform their bus driver when they board that they are going to vote or just voted, and the trip will be free,” said Laketran’s Julia Schick.
Early voting is taking place now through Friday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bus rides in Lake County also will be free to neighborhood polling sites on Election Day.
For voters in the greater Cleveland area, GCRTA will not be providing free rides as it did in November 2020, when the transit agency received a grant to cover the cost.
“Providing free rides on Election Day is not an RTA budgeted activity,” a GCRTA spokesperson wrote in response to an Ideastream Public Media inquiry. “Our agency remains available to consider potential collaborations with partners willing to sponsor or underwrite the cost of election day service, system wide.”
Polls open on Election Day at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.