Posts Tagged ‘Akron Metro’

Akron Metro Public Views on Strategic Plan

September 28, 2020

Akron Metro RTA will hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to get public views on the transit agency’s 10-year strategic plan.

The meeting can be viewed on Zoom with registration at https://www.akronmetro.org/strategic-plan.aspx.

A recording of the meeting will later be posted on the Akron Metro website.

A summary of the public comments will be presented on Oct. 27 to the Metro board of trustees during its next meeting.

In an unrelated development, Akron Metro has launched a partnership with the Moovit app to allow riders to buy a digital bus pass.

The Moovit app can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices.

Riders must have a smart phone to use the app and will show their pass on their device to a bus driver or have it scanned.

The Moovit app incorporates EZfare ticketing while also showing bus lines and trip times.

After selecting a trip using the app riders will see the fare and be able to purchase an e-ticket. Moovit will display the digital ticket and a unique QR code.

Among the transit agencies in Northeast Ohio using app are PARTA in Portage County, MCPT in Medina County, Laketran in Lake County and SARTA in Stark County.

Passengers can use the services to transfer between lines when possible.

Akron Metro Launches Pilot Program, Giving Library Card Holder Free Rides Once a Month

September 9, 2020

Akron Metro RTA has instituted a pilot program whereby bus riders can schedule pick-up times in Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Tallmadge for the cost of a regular Metro bus fare of $1.25 for a single trip.

The Metro Connect service will be available between 7 a.m. and  5 p.m. on weekdays.

Riders must call 330-376-5353 and will be picked up at a bus stop within the Metro Connect service area, which can be viewed at akronmetro.org.

Riders are encouraged to schedule their reservation at least one business day before travel in order to assure a 15-minute pick-up window.

Metro Connect is a pilot program that agency CEO Dawn Distler said could reshape public transit in Summit County.

“As travel patterns change, we continue to look for innovative solutions to provide more efficient service to the communities we serve,” Distler said.

In another development, Akron Metro has established a partnership with the Akron-Summit County Public Library to provide free rides on the first Thursday of each month.

Library card holders will be able to ride free by showing their card upon boarding a bus.

Up to two children, age 5 or younger, can ride free with an adult with a library card.

The program is not available for transportation on Metro SCAT/Paratransit, Call-A-Bus or NCX services.

Akron Metro RTA to Resume Collecting Fares

June 1, 2020

Starting June 8 riders of Akron Metro RTA will need to begin paying fares again.

Fare collection was suspended shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

Other changes that will become effective on that date include reopening of the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center and the implementation of a summer contingency schedule that includes revised weekday and Saturday service.

Buses will not operate on Sundays.

Some circulator routes will be suspended and/or remain suspended.

These include Route No. 50 Montrose, Route No. 51 Stow, Route No. 53 Portage/Graham and Route No. 59 Chapel Hill, the DASH, Grocery Bus and x60 service to Cleveland.

Metro officials said they are focusing the agency’s resources on high-volume routes.

Metro said it is working with the Summit County Public Health department to establish new safety standards.

Line-up times at the transit center are being changed to allow passengers for more timely and efficient connections.

The Pfaff center will be open 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Window hours will be 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Akron Metro Passengers Must Wear Masks

April 29, 2020

Starting today (April 29) all passengers riding Akron Metro RTA buses must wear face masks.

The transit agency said the rule, which also affects employees, was made to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Masks are nor required for children under the age of 2.

A similar rule was imposed earlier this month by the Stark County Regional Transit Authority.

The mask rule follows guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people wearing cloth face coverings in public areas where it’s hard to maintain social distancing.

Metro Driver Tests Positive For COVID-19

April 24, 2020

An Akron Metro RTA bus driver has tested positive for the COVID-19 and has been placed in quarantine along with 13 Metro employees.

The bus driver last worked on Wednesday and was diagnosed on Thursday.

In the two weeks before testing positive, the operator drove the following routes, Monday through Friday:

Route 1: Inbound to transit center, 10:30 a.m., outbound 1 p.m., inbound 2 p.m., outbound, 4:25 p.m., inbound 5:32 p.m.

Route 2: Outbound from transit center 11:20 a.m., inbound 12:21 p.m., outbound 2:50 p.m. and inbound 3:49 p.m.

Any passengers who rode the routes the bus driver was on should monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact their doctor if any symptoms develop, and self-quarantine for two weeks to avoid possible exposure to others.

Metro’s Director of Public Relations and Marketing Molly Becker said five Metro employees have been asked to contact their medical provider for further guidance.

The agency said the buses the driver operated have been sanitized.

The transit agency said it has seen a substantial decline in ridership during the pandemic and has asked the public to only ride if they are traveling for essential purposes.

Executive Director Dawn Distler has said ridership have dropped by nearly 60 percent compared with February’s patronage.

Since March 17, Metro has not been collecting fares from passengers, a practice that will continue for an indefinite period of time.

To promote social distancing aboard buses, Metro has assigned “chaser” buses to some routes during peak travel times.

Only about 15 passengers are allowed onboard at any given time and the chaser buses pick up riders who were left behind due to a full bus.

A recent article in the Akron Beacon Journal said most of those riding Metro are either headed home or going to a job at a business or service that has been deemed as essential.

Metro driver Wayne Cole told the newspaper that during the pandemic there’s been less talking with him and among passengers, and a noticeable amount of anxiety.

“You can feel the tension,” he said. “You can feel the fear. I think its paralyzed people a bit.”

Cole, a 20-year Metro driver, said the last time he saw similar behavior was following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Becker said this is the first time since she joined Metro that people have been told not to ride unless they must.

As an illustration of falling ridership, Route 2 on an average weekday in February would handle 1,842 riders. Last week, it was 959 riders, down 48 percent.

The route operates from the downtown Akron transit center southward to Interstate Parkway and Fortuna Drive.

During the pandemic the transit center has been closed to the public, and schedules and service have been reduced.

The agency’s 230 buses are getting more frequent cleaning, including a deep, three- to four-hour cleaning each day.

Previously, such cleanings were conducted on each bus on a monthly basis.

Metro has spent thus far this year $21,000 on cleaning supplies. Normally at this time it would have spent $2,000 to $5,000.

Cleveland RTA Maintaining Regular Sked for Now; Akron Metro Suspends Some Cleveland Service

March 21, 2020

Although transit agencies across the country have been imposing service cuts in the wake of falling ridership triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority said it is for now operating its regular daily schedules.

RTA said on its website that should the situation require schedule changes it will notify the public through its website (rideRTA.com) as well as other means.

The agency said it is not offering free rides as other transit agencies are doing, including Akron Metro and Portage Area RTA.

The Tower City customer service office has reduced hours and will now be open between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

RTA said it began on March 5 an enhanced cleaning protocol for buses, trains, paratransit and non-revenue vehicles in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

This involves cleaning every 24 hours all touchable surfaces on board vehicles with a cleaning agent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

The cleaning protocol also includes non-revenue and transit police vehicles, all transit centers and all RTA public facilities, bus districts and office buildings.

In the meantime, RTA said passengers riding Red Line trains are subject to delay through March 21 due to a rail maintenance project.

The maintenance is being done between West 25th Street and the Tri-C-Campus district station.

In other Northeast Ohio public transit news, Akron Metro will temporarily suspend on March 23 its X60 route that links Cuyahoga Falls and downtown Cleveland.

In a notice posted on its Facebook page, Akron Metro said the route has no ridership because its patrons are telecommuting to work.

The notice said the suspension was temporary.

Known as the Northcoast Express, the route operates from Cuyahoga Falls Blue Parking Deck to Lakeside and West Third in downtown Cleveland before starting its return trip.

It runs two trips north in the morning and two south in the evening via Ohio Route 8 and Interstates 480 and 77.

Another Northcoast Express route, X61, will continue to operate as scheduled. It departs the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center in downtown Akron and runs to downtown Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Route X61 has 11 trips in each direction on weekdays operating via I-77 and West Market Street in Akron.

Metro also said that during the pandemic it will close its Kenmore Boulevard lobby.

Akron Metro Offering Free Rides

March 17, 2020

Starting today (March 17) Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority is offering free rides for all services, including line-service, SCAT, Call-A-Bus, and Northcoast Express.

At the same time Metro is encouraging its passengers to stay home if their trip is not medically or otherwise necessary

“These are challenging times for everyone,” Metro Executive Director Dawn Distler said in a statement. “By offering free fares, we hope to alleviate the financial burden so many folks are unexpectedly faced with in the communities we proudly serve. We also hope this assists with the distancing challenges our bus operators face when interacting with passengers during their trips.”

Distler said the transit agency is doing all it can to continue to serve passengers safely, including following the guidance of the CDC and local health officials.

She said public transportation is necessary for the community to continue to deal with the challenges at hand.

Akron Metro Building Transit Center in Chapel Hill

December 6, 2019

An architect’s drawing of the Akron Metro Independence Transit Center now under construction

Akron Metro RTA broke ground this week on a new transit center in the Chapel Hill area that will enable riders to wait indoors for their bus.

The $900,000 Independence Transit Center will feature a temperature-controlled waiting area that will serve the 600 to 700 passengers who board buses there daily.

The center is being built at the site of a former Bakers Square Restaurant & Bakery and its waiting room will have a capacity of 100.

The center is expected to take a year to construct and will be located on Romig Road

The center will be about 2,500 square feet and have seats with protective overhangs in addition to the indoor waiting room.

Security will be provided by surveillance and be monitored by Metro RTA’s road supervisors and police department.

During construction, Metro buses will lay over by the Metro bus stop in the Chapel Hill Mall parking lot near the J.C. Penney store.

Akron Metro Gets $3M State Grant

October 31, 2019

Akron Metro RTA will use a $3 million grant funding from the state to upgrade bus stops and pay for maintenance of its bus fleet.

The public transit agency said the funds will also be used for a new program known as Flex Ride that is slated to launch next year and connect suburban job centers with workers in need of transportation.

“This money is mainly focused on capital improvement projects,” said Metro RTA Planning Director Valarie Shay of the grant from the state.

“And by getting grant money to put towards capital projects it also frees up some money in our budget to be able to put towards service. So it all kind of ends up coming together.”

The funding comes from the Urban Transit Program and the Ohio Transit Partnership Program.

In other news, Metro said it will offer free rides on election day on Nov. 5 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

The transit agency has also rolled out a cashless ticketing operation through the EZfare mobile app.

Riders who download the EZfare app can set up an account with an email address and credit or debit card.

They can use their mobile device to purchase a bus pass and show it to the bus operator.

Passengers will need data or Wi-Fi to buy a bus pass, but do not need data or Wi-Fi to activate the pass when boarding.

After Metro launched EZfare in August on its Northcoast Express routes it determined that 20 to 30 percent of passengers were using the mobile ticketing feature.

Thirteen Ohio and northern Kentucky transit agencies use the EZfare app, including PARTA in Portage County, MCPT in Medina County, Laketran in Lake County and SARTA in Stark County.

Passengers can access tickets and passes from any of the agencies through the same app, making it easier to transfer to other buses and travel to different counties.

Akron Metro Schedules to Change Aug. 21

August 17, 2016

Akron Metro RTA fall schedules will go into effect on Sunday, Aug. 21.

The new timetables show some minor changes to routes and times. Akron Metro 3Among the more notable changes are:

  • Routes No. 1 and No. 101 will no longer enter Summit Mall. The new No. 1 route time point is renamed “West Market @ Summit Mall.”
  • The Downtown Akron Shuttle is a new route that will operate on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every 10 minutes and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every 15 minutes. There is no charge to ride the shuttle.
  • Route X61 is switching berths at the Transit Center due to safety concerns regarding the wheelchair lifts. It will now pull into the west side of the Center, between the No. 34 and  Greyhound berths.