Posts Tagged ‘Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’

RTA May Delay Fare Hike Until 2019

February 22, 2018

A fare increase set to go into effect on March 27 might be delayed until next year, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority said this week.

Greater Cleveland RTA said it is considering conducting a comprehensive fare study and while that is being done it would continue fares at their current level.

The fare hike delay was recommended by RTA’s operational planning and infrastructure committee.

The RTA board of directors is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation on March 27 when it approves a revised 2018 operating budget.

“We need to take a look at the possibility of modifying our fare structure to best assure fairness and equity to our customers,” said Joe Calabrese, GCRTA’s chief executive officer and general manager in a news release. “It’s critical that we study if there is a way to join with community partners to offer lower fares for our customers with lower incomes.”

Calabrese said that past fare increases have resulted in ridership declines because many riders could not afford the higher fare.

In 2016, ridership fell by 6 percent after RTA increased fares by 25 cents, which was double the projected ridership loss.

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RTA Shortens Red Line Trains for Wheel Work

February 19, 2018

Some Greater Cleveland Red Line trains are operating with one car rather than the customary two because several cars have been removed from service for wheel work.

RTA said it has sidelined 17 of the 40 cars normally assigned to the line because the wheels had worn too thin to meet safety standards.

That has meant crowded trains, particularly during busy travel times. The cars were removed in the latter part of last year but some are now starting to go back into service with new wheels.

Although RTA ordered new wheels for the cars last June, its order was delayed when the company processing the order gave priority to another customer with a larger order.

By last December, RTA lacked enough serviceable cars to assign two cars per train as is the normal practice.

New wheels finally began reaching the RTA shop last week and the first car to receive new wheels entered revenue service shortly thereafter.

RTA officials say it will take nearly two months for every train to again be assigned two cars and nearly 16 weeks to retrofit the entire fleet, including spare cars.

Although the shop located near East 55th Street can repair a wheel through a process known as truing, after two inches have been removed from a wheel it must be discarded.

Applying the brakes and the effects of snow and ice can cause wear and tear on wheels.

Each new wheel consists of 550 pounds of steel and is 28 inches in diameter.

GCRTA To Reduce Rail Service in March

January 18, 2018

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will reduce off-peak frequencies on all of its rail lines on March 11 as part of a $4 million cost cutting move.

RTA is increasing the headways or how many minutes there are between trains during the hours before and after the morning and evening rush hours.

Currently the Red Line operates every 10 minutes during non-rush hours. The Blue, Green and Waterfront lines have headways of eight to 15 minutes, depending on location.

Starting March 11, the Red Line headways before and after rush hours will go to 15 minutes while the headways on the Blue, Green and Waterfront lines will change to 10 to 25 minutes depending on location

Weekend Waterfront Line service is now every 15 minutes, but will change to every 30 minutes.

Some bus routes will also see increased headways. RTA said no bus routes are being eliminated. Likewise, no overall hours of service will be changed.

RTA CEO Joseph Calabrese said that no layoffs are expected in March, but he plans to submit a revised budget this spring that will call for staff cuts through layoffs, demotions, transfers, reduced shifts and reduced overtime.

Calabrese said the austerity measures are being undertaken due to reduced funding from the State of Ohio for public transportation.

He said by increasing headways RTA is scaling back use of its most underused vehicles.

Although acknowledging that some riders will be inconvenienced by the increased headways, Calabrese hopes that the buses and trains that continue operating will have a higher load factor, with some trains and buses running at 90 percent occupancy.

In 2017, RTA ended the year with a $36 million surplus, which Calabrese said has helped forestall further service cuts, but will not prevent long-term cuts.

GCTRA Completes Building Green Line Station

October 19, 2017

Renovation of the Lee-Shaker station on the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Green Line has been completed.

The $11.7 million upgrade involved removing and replacing the original platform and waiting shelters.

Workers also installed new lighting, signs, railings and a safety security system with cameras and emergency call boxes.

The work began in October 2016 and the station remained open during the construction work.

In a news release, RTA said the renovations make the station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“This station, as well as other recent renovations on both our light- and heavy-rail lines, are examples of RTA’s significant investment in our robust rail infrastructure,” said GCRTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese.

Cleveland RTA Names Operations Manager

October 3, 2017

Floun’say Caver has been appointed deputy general manager of operations at Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

Caver replaces Michael York, who retired last week. Carver first joined RTA in 2000 and left in 2002 to earn a doctorate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. He returned in 2006 as RTA’s manager of budgets.

Carver was chosen during a nationwide search to fill the position.

In a news release, RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese said Caver’s technical knowledge of the bus and rail industry, and his ability to lead and inspire others, made him the top candidate.

Caver is the creator of the TransitState performance management initiative, which has helped reduce costs, improve processes and change work culture at GCRTA.

TransitStat is an adaptation of New York City’s CompStat and Baltimore’s CitiStat programs. Caver also created GCRTA’s management trainee program.

In an unrelated announcement, the federal government will provide $5.85 million to help update RTA’s radio communications system.

“Our current system is obsolete and parts availability has been so difficult that we were sometimes shopping on Ebay for discontinued parts,” Calabrese said. “This grant will allow us to update our entire communications system and bring it into the 21st century to improve the quality of our service and the safety of our customers.”

Updating the communications system will enable RTA to provide reliable real-time arrival information for riders.

The total cost of the upgrade is $18 million; other federal funds and local matches will cover the remaining costs.

Cleveland RTA Executive to Retire

September 26, 2017

A key Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority executive is retiring after a 50-year career in public transportation.

York

Mike York, who joined Cleveland RTA in 1990, will retire on Sept. 29 from his post as deputy general manager of operations.

In that position, York oversees more than 2,000 employees and an annual budget of $218 million.

He played a key role in the 1996 opening of the Waterfront Line light-rail route.

York began his public transportation career in 1967 as a bus operator.

He was later hired by Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and played a pivotal role in the planning and development of a transit system that was a deciding factor in Atlanta being selected to host the 1996 Olympic Games.

In 1984, York was hired as assistant executive director for operations and planning for Dallas Area Rapid Transit where he conducted the initial planning and development for the agency’s light-rail system.

RTA Dedicates Renovated Brook Park Station

August 24, 2017

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority held a dedication on Wednesday of its renovated Brookpark Rapid Station.

Located on the Red Line and serving four bus routes, the $16.5 million the station received a new platform, canopies and entrances. The work also included improved lighting, security systems and cameras.

New parking lots were created and the passenger waiting areas were enhanced.

The station was built in 1964 and the latest renovations began in June 2015.
Brookpark is RTA’s busiest station serving more than 750,000 riders each year.

 

NOACA OKs $15.8B Transportation Plan for Greater Cleveland

July 22, 2017

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency has approved a $15.8 billion, 20-year transportation plan for Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties that has been named AIM Forward 2040.

More than 90 percent of the funds identified in the plan will be used to maintain existing infrastructure and support new transit and livability projects.

“We heard over and over again that adding more lanes and widening roads was not necessarily a priority,” said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci. “What we did hear was a strong desire for more options for getting around and fixing what we already have.

NOACA plans to invest $45 million to renew rail infrastructure of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Red Line from Tower City to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The line sees nearly 30,000 weekday riders and in recent years deteriorated tracks and poor drainage have slowed trains.

Also on the docket is spending nearly $68 million for replacing 260 transit buses in Cuyahoga and Lake counties.

This does not yet include the replacement of RTA’s rail fleet, some of which dates back to the middle 1970s. RTA wants to replace its two models of light and heavy rail cars with a single type of equipment during the next four-year cycle of urban formula grants.

The price of replacing the rail car fleet with nearly 70 light-rail cars may be as much as $300 million.

Also in the works is planning of transit-oriented development around RTA rail stations. This will include a pilot program focused at the West Boulevard/Cudell station on the Red Line and the East 116th Street station on the Blue and Green Lines.

Additional transit-supportive land-use planning is occurring near RTA’s two East 79th Street rail stations that are in need of major rehabilitation.

Some development has been built, is under construction or is planned within walking distance of dozens of rail and bus rapid transit stations.

In the longer term future, NOACA wants to expand the number of rail stations from 50 to 162, and expand rail service to improve job access in places such as Euclid, Lorain, Westlake, Lakewood, Solon, Strongsville and Medina, as well as promote walkable communities around rail stations.

NOACA officials say that under existing flexible transportation funding provisions, the financial resources already exist to expand the existing transit system.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded to NOACA $200,000 to begin planning a multi-county transit system as an overlay to connect and enhance existing county-based transit networks to improve access to job hubs.

Only 10 percent of available jobs are within a 60-minute one-way transit ride in Greater Cleveland.

Cleveland RTA Wins APTA Safety Award

June 14, 2017

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority was among the safety winners recently honored by the American Public Transportation Association.

The awards for the annual Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards were presented this week at a convention in Baltimore.

Cleveland RTA received a certificate of merit for safety in the heavy-rail category. RTA was honored for implementing an emergency pantograph-lowering system designed to keep the train operator out of unnecessary danger.

Other winners included the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro Transit in Minnesota, the Maryland Transit Administration, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

“These are the professionals who make us proud to be members of the public transportation family,” said APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes in a statement. “Keeping our riders, employees, and communities safe is the most important thing we do every day. Their accomplishments are what make a safe rail public transit industry even safer.”

NORM Makes First Public Trip

June 11, 2017

The Northern Ohio Railway Museum on Saturday brought out former Shaker Rapid Car No. 12 for the museum’s first powered public trip on its demonstration track

The museum reported on its Facebook page that it carried 55 ticketed passengers.

Akron Railroad Club member Steve Heister was the motorman and Ed Ollick was the conductor of the first run, which departed at 11 a.m.

Trips departed on the hour with the last one leaving at 3 p.m.

Car 12 was used for fan trip and special event service for several years by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority before being donated to NORM in 2013.

NORM will have Car 12 back in action on July 8. Tickets are $4 for adults and teenagers (13 and older) and $2 for children ages 6 to 12. Children age 5 and younger are free when accompanied by an adult.

For more information visit http://www.trainweb.org/norm/events.htm

NORM said operations in 2017 will be limited to the second Saturday of the month through October.

The museum expects to have additional operating dates in 2018 at its site near Chippewa Lake in Medina County.