RTA cutting service

Everyone in the Collinwood area who rides the bus, should know that the RTA is making changes to most of their bus routes on December 13th. (The buses that serve Collinwood and surrounding areas are: #1 St. Clair, #37 East 185-Taylor, and #39 Lakeshore.)  With the new changes, the buses will only run once an hour!  How long will riders have to wait between connections?  Will people have to get to work hours early and get home hours later?  And pay fare increases too?  (The current fares are $2.25 a ride, $5.00 for an all day pass,  $22.50 for a weekly pass, and $85.00 for a monthly pass.) RTA is considering increasing fares next year.  (The RTA recently increased fares on 9-1-09!))  See a list of these changes at: http://www.riderta.com/maps-schedules.asp

The most alarming news is that the RTA plans to discontinue service on twenty nine bus routes in April 2010, and discontinue evening and weekend service on ten bus routes, including the "#1 St. Clair  - late night service between E 129 & E 152."

But the worst change of all affects the Route, #39.

The RTA plans to: "Discontinue all #39 service except during rush hours."
Presently, all the #39 rush hour buses are standing room only!  When routes are cut, will they still only have one bus every 30 minutes? Or will they now only have one bus for the rush hour? The #39 serves the whole Lakeshore area from the Shoregate Shopping Center to Downtown Cleveland! It is a MAJOR bus line connecting half of the city!

There used to be THREE #39 buses. (The #39, #39BX and the #39F.)  The #39BX went through Bratenahl.) But the RTA changed it so ALL buses would go through Bratenahl. My suggestion is to implement the previous #39 routes.

As a community member, a rider of RTA, and a non-driver who depends on the public transit system, I am appalled at how this will prevent me from getting Downtown, or to the connecting #37 and #34 bus routes that I need! What will happen when riders need to get to their jobs and appointments at Shoregate and Downtown, and to all the stores and businesses on Lakeshore Blvd., at a time other than rush hour? Not everyone works 9 to 5. Many people work the evening, weekend and night shift. What will happen when people lose their jobs because they cannot get to work, and stores close because customers cannot shop anymore? 

The RTA is raising fares, cutting routes and providing inferior service to customers: The buses are late, do not make connections and are dirty. Drivers do not let disabled people get to their seats before starting the bus, and they close doors on people when they get off the bus. There is no place for packages and parcels, because the luggage rack has a Plain Dealer box on it. The buses are crowded, with standing room only. Elderly riders have to remove all their groceries from their shopping carts when boarding the bus! All carts and buggies have to be broken down!

According to a recent Plain Dealer article, the drivers are not treated any better. 40 percent of buses have no heat, and half are without working radios. There were also reports of no restrooms during layovers and people being assigned to jobs for which they had no training.  

Everyone who wants their opinions heard about these proposed bus route changes should e-mail the RTA, or attend one of the public meetings that will be held in January. 

And.. call your elected officials.  Ask them what they are doing about this situation.

The RTA e-mail address is: public-comment@gcrta.org

The list of public meetings is located at: http://www.riderta.com/hearings/

We CAN make a difference.  

It is surprising that an RTA Press Release said:  "...the RTA was named North America's Best Public Transportation System, by the American Public Transportation System. (in 2007)."   http://www.riderta.com/nu_newsroom_releases.asp?listingid=1096

This is not true for the riders of RTA!

Read More on Opinion
Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.10.2009