RTA Board Votes to Increase Transit Fares
The Regional Transit Authority will increase its fares by $.25 in August to $2.50 and again in two years. Paratransit rides will also go up by a quarter every year through 2019.
By an 8 to 1 vote Tuesday, RTA’s Board approved its first rate hike in seven years. The increase should raise about $3 million dollars. Service cuts to bus routes and the Waterfront rail line are expected to save another $3 million.
Before the vote, local residents including Clevelander James Lamb said a fare increase would be devastating for people on a fixed income.
"I ride that bus every day," Lamb said. "But right now you’re killing this person that’s getting $500 a month."
Other residents asked RTA to seek supplemental funding from local businesses that benefit from transit. RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese says they’ve tried for the last three years to brand the Waterfront line the way University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic help finance the Health Line. Calabrese wouldn’t say which businesses they’ve approached but, so far, they’ve been unsuccessful.
"I think if you think about the Waterfront line, it would be pretty obvious who we’d go to. I mean, the Cleveland State line ends at CSU. The health line goes by UH & the Clinic. The Waterfront line probably would best be sponsored by someone who gets services from the Waterfront line."
Calabrese blamed state lawmaker for “pathetic” funding of transit services and says the fare and route changes are a temporary solution to the RTA’s long-term financial woes.