Posts Tagged ‘Greater Cleveland RTA’

Cleveland RTA Launches ‘Last Mile’ Pilot Project

September 27, 2022

Cleveland RTA is working with SHARE Mobility and employers in Solon and Bedford Heights to provide a “last mile” service.

RTA officials say the project seeks to address coverage gaps in public transit service.

SHARE Mobility said it “contracts with fleet providers to provide transportation for workers leaving a bus stop or other transit connection at the appropriate time to get them to jobs in the area.”

This involves ride sharing and allows riders to schedule trips in advance.

The service, which is targeted at hourly workers without access to transportation or seeking to save on month transportation costs, transports workers between their workplace and an RTA bus stop.

The route frequency will be based upon employer work schedules.

Cleveland RTA Creates Intervention Teams

September 8, 2022

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority said this week it has created programs to watch stations and assist riders, and to provide assistance during emergencies.

In a news release, Cleveland RTA described the programs as a “progressive policing and community engagement initiative that reduces the law enforcement’s footprint on GCRTA transit systems by integrating unarmed professionals to handle non-criminal issues.”

Civilians in uniforms will be trained in conflict resolution skills to help people experiencing mental health crises.

Members will be part of a Transit Ambassadors team or a Intervention specialists team comprised of licensed social workers who will be embedded within RTA’s police force.

RTA said transit ambassadors will provide general information and assistance to riders and the public; assist riders needing help with navigating GCRTA’s transit system; assist riders in understanding and complying with fare policies; request transit police assistance as needed; and help maintain a safe and clean environment.

The crisis intervention specialists will perform mental health, crisis, and substance abuse outreach; defuse immediate crises and serve as a gateway to available resources; establish relationships with social service agencies.

Members of both program have received 40 hours of crisis intervention team training along with training on de-escalation, defensive tactics, first aid/CPR/Narcan, human trafficking awareness and customer service.

One to two teams per shift will initially provide coverage on the HealthLine and at RTA rail stations before expanding out to other routes and locations.

Cleveland RTA Gets Grant for New Rail Cars

August 25, 2022

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has received an $8 million grant to be used to fund rail car replacement.

The grant was awarded by the Ohio Transit Partnership Program.

Cleveland RTA said it now has been awarded from the Ohio Department of Transportation $21.4 million to be used toward replacement of rail cars used on its 33-mile rail network.

The agency has raised $197.5 million of the $300 million Railcar Replacement Program budget, according to Deputy General Manager Engineering and Project Management Mike Schipper.

This includes funding being provided by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, Federal Formula Funding, and USDOT BUILD, as well as the self-funded Rolling Stock Replacement Fund.

Schipper told RTA trustees during an Aug. 23 meeting that RTA’s rail car fleet is one of the  older in the nation and has exceeded the 30-year expected lifespan of the cars.

“Even as we are in the process of procuring the railcars, the new cars are still going to be 3-4 years from now.” Schipper said.

RTA has enough funding to order 24 new rail cars with options for 36 additional cars.

In a related development, RTA said it received a $3.5 million Urban Transit Program grant from ODOT that will be used to replace six 40-foot diesel buses with six 40-foot Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses.

During the Aug. 23 meeting, RTA trustees approved a resolution to create a seven-member civilian oversight committee to review and investigate public complaints against transit police department employees.

The resolution said the civilian oversight committee must have members who are “representative of the diverse communities in Cuyahoga County.”

At least one member must be a retired police officer. The oversight committee will have the power to receive, investigate and make recommendations to the RTA police chief as to how complaints should be resolved.

RTA’s Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver told the trustees that the agency has not had any major issues with its police officers, but by appointing an oversight committee there will be a mechanism to resolve issues should they arise.

RTA Expects to Gain Riders From Gas Price Surges

March 11, 2022

Sharply increasing gasoline prices are presenting opportunities and challenges for public transit agencies.

Although higher fuel costs may prompt higher ridership it also leads to higher costs for bus fuel.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority operating officer Floun’say Caver told WJW-TV that the agency expect spikes in ridership on buses and trains due to rising gasoline prices.

 “I think that we could start to see ourselves get back in the 20 to 25 percent increase,” Caver said.

That would go a long way toward helping RTA regain ridership lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caver said RTA experienced a similar situation in 2008 during another round of gasoline price surges.

However, RTA also had to pay millions more than expected in fuel costs. RTA has since begun buying fuel in advance to avoid the shock of price fluctuations.

In the meantime, RTA is increasing its promotional efforts on social media to seek to draw new riders.

The public transit agency said it is prepared to add buses or trains to busy routes if needed to keep up with ridership increases.

Cleveland RTA to get $20.5M in Federal Funding

March 3, 2022

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority said this week it will receive $20.3 million in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

That funding is part of $1.3 billion in federal dollars that Ohio will receive for public transit agencies over the next five years, GCRTA officials said in a news release.

Ohio urban and rural transit providers will be awarded $260 million in federal fiscal year 2022 with $73.5 million available immediately and the rest available later in the year.

In a statement, GCRTA General Manager and CEO India Birdsong said the funding “will assist us in strengthening our transportation network and associated infrastructure.”

RTA Officials Defend Service Suspensions

February 1, 2022

Two trains sliding backward on their tracks. Five buses stuck in the snow. Thirteen minor accidents.

That series of events led officials of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to take the unprecedented step of suspending all service for 12 hours during the weekend of Jan. 16-17 after a winter storm dumped 15 inches of snow on Northeast Ohio.

But that decision has come under fire from public transit advocates, prompting RTA managers to defend the service suspension during a recent meeting of the RTA board of trustees.

RTA General Manager India Birdsong told trustees that the storm created a unique situation in which snow accumulation of more an inch per hour overwhelmed the system.

Chief Operating Officers Floun’say Caver, said that included two train operators reporting losing traction.

Caver said RTA sent a snow train out to clear tracks but later discovered the problem with lost traction was caused by ice building up on brake shoes rather than track conditions.

Still critics said the service suspension raises concerns because the Cleveland region routinely gets heavy snowfalls every winter.

They pointed to an RTA blog post in 2019 that public transit was a reliable way to get around during harsh winter weather.

Caver defended the service suspension, which was RTA’s first in 19 years.

“I am confident with the decision to have to prioritize the safety, the life and the health of this community,” he said.

Still, Alex Rubin, a member of Clevelanders for Public Transit said the mid-January storm was not historic by any standard.

 “Should we expect there to be no bus or rapid service the next time it snows?”

 “It should not happen every year,” Birdsong said in response. “This is something we can work to be in avoidance of, and we absolutely will do that.”

All Aboard Ohio called the RTA service suspension another example of RTA’s failure to update its fleet.

“It’s bad enough that GCRTA has let the Rapid fall into disrepair from decades of neglect and a failure to fund and procure replacement of equipment, some of which is way beyond its designed life span,” AAO Executive Director Stu Nicholson wrote on Twitter.

“But a total shutdown of the Rapid along with all bus service makes us wonder if this is willful neglect on the part of GCRTA management.”

Nicholson wants an investigation of the shutdown and for the appointment of new RTA trustees to address it.

Clevelanders for Public Transit made similar statements on its Twitter feed.

RTA officials noted they have taken steps to improve the fleet, including using COVID-19 pandemic emergency aid to buy 40 new buses that are expected to enter service in the fall.

Sixteen new vehicles for the Healthline busline were placed into service in January.

Replacing the rail fleet, though, has been a heavier lift. RTA in 2019 put out a request for proposals from transit vehicle manufacturers only to reject last summer the one proposal it received as inadequate.

A second request for proposals has a deadline of March 9 and RTA officials say a vote by trustees on a bid could occur later this year.

RTA projects that replacing its rail fleet will cost $717 million over a 30-year period.

In the interim, RTA trustees have agreed to spend $2.2 million to replace traction motors on rail cars in the wake of 18 traction motor failures last year. The traction motors were last replaced in 2012.

New rail cars, when they do arrive, will have antilock brakes that Caver said will help their performance during winter weather.

He said the new cars also would have better slide protection and more snow cutters to keep the tracks and overhead power lines clear.

As for the mid-January storm, Caver said, “the trains, for the most part, held up fairly well, but this weather environment created these issues that we had.”

Cleveland RTA Wins APTA Safety Award

November 10, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has been recognized by the American Public Transportation Association for safety and security measures taken during 2020.

The agency received a gold award in the heavy rail category in the 2021 Bus and Rail Safety, Security and COVID Response Excellence Awards.

In a news release, APTA said the awards are meant to honor agencies for their diligence and innovation through safety and security programs that serve as benchmarks of success for others.

Winners were chosen based upon effectiveness, benefit level, innovation and transferability, with the top honor being the gold award for the organization with the best example program in safety or security.

Cleveland RTA Red Line Train Separates in Transit

October 22, 2021

One person was taken to a hospital after a Cleveland RTA Red Line train separated while moving Thursday afternoon.

The three-car train was heading to Cleveland Hopkins Airport when the separation occurred at 2:45 p.m. between the West Boulevard-Cudell Station and the station at West 117th Street.

Passengers aboard the train were helped off by Cleveland firefighters and RTA police officers.

An RTA spokeswoman said the train stopped after the separation occurred.

In a news release, RTA said the train was inspected and later put back into service. The RTA spokeswoman said the passenger was taken by ambulance at her request to be checked.

In a service advisory, RTA said Thursday afternoon that although the Red Line was continuing to operate there might be delays to some trains.

Cleveland RTA Completes Track Work Project

October 5, 2021

Greater Cleveland RTA said it has restored all service on its Blue and Green lines that had been suspended for the past eight weeks due to track construction.

The track work took place between the Buckeye-Woodhill Station and Shaker Square.

The project involved replacing 7,000 ties, 29,600 e-clip fasteners, 54,800 spikes, 27,400 feet of rail and 12 turnouts.

The agency spent $8 million on the work and said that last time this segment of the track had been repaired was in the early 1980s.

Waterfront Line Suspension Extended Indefinitely

September 9, 2021

A Waterfront line car climbs the incline to cross the Norfolk Southern Tracks in downtown Cleveland in September 2017.

Service on the Cleveland RTA Waterfront line has been suspended indefinitely due to the closing of a bridge that spans the Norfolk Southern tracks just east of the Cuyahoga River.

It is the latest setback for the 2.2-mile line, which saw service suspended for several months last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then shut down again last October due to a track rehabilitation project at Tower City.

RTA said in a statement that a consulting firm found that the bridge needs four interim support towers to stabilize the structure.

These would be considered a temporary fix until a permanent solution to the problem is found and implemented.

The consulting firm had found in a 2018 inspection that the bridge has stress fractures. At the time, RTA responded by limiting traffic on the bridge to one train at a time.

Hardesty & Hanover, which conducted the inspection, recommended that RTA not use the bridge until it is permanently fixed, a process expected to take two years.

RTA has awarded an emergency contract for the support towers with that work expected to be finished in late October.

The most recent inspection of the bridge was conducted this past summer ahead of what RTA expected to a resumption of service on the Waterfront Line.

Hardesty & Hanover has begun design work on a permanent solution fix for the bridge, which RTA expects to pay for with $6 million in federal funding granted by the Federal Transit Administration.

The service suspension means RTA will not be able to provide service directly to FirstEnergy Stadium this year for Cleveland Browns games.