RTA Considers Rate Hikes and Service Cuts
The board of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority received several options today (TUES) to raise fares and reduce service. The goal is to save $7 million dollars and stay within its recently passed budget. Ideastream’s Mark Urycki has details…
To meet its budget shortfall RTA is looking to raise a little over $3 million dollars by hiking fares and SAVE about $4 million dollars by cutting bus and train service it considers underutilized.
Some of the fare options call for raising the cost of a monthly RTA pass
fee from $85 dollars to $95 dollars and possibly again two years from now.
The price of transporting the disabled may also go up. General Manager Joe Calabrese says federal regulations allow transit systems to charge double for so-called “paratransit.”
“RTA has never done that while most systems DO do that as a practice, so.”
One option raises the paratransit fare from $2.25 to 3.50.
The agency has identified 19 routes that would see service cuts, taking 18 buses off the road. And Calabrese acknowledges that a few of the recommended cuts to rapid lines could hurt future development plans
“The Waterfront Line is something that we really feel is , not for the numbers, but you know, an economic development engine for the city in the future as we’re trying to develop the Flats, East Bank, and the lakefront project.”
Calabrese and some board members put the blame on state officials who have cut Ohio’s public transit funding from $43 million dollars in 2001 down to just $7 million last year. Calabrese says the Ohio Department Of Transportation’s own study suggests the state should pay 10% of the bill.
“If that 10% idea was enacted that would mean about $30 million dollars a year for RTA. If we had that $30m a year we wouldn’t be talking about this today.”
RTA will hold 10 public hearings on its proposals starting at the end of this month.