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The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (officially the GCRTA, but historically and locally referred to as the RTA) is the public transit agency for Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker, United Statesmarker, and the surrounding suburbs of Cuyahoga Countymarker. RTA is the largest transit agency in Ohio, providing over 57 million trips to residents and visitors of the Cleveland area in 2005. RTA owns and operates the RTA Rapid Transit rail system (better known as "The Rapid"), which consists of one heavy rail line (the Red Line) and two interurban light rail lines (the Blue, Green and light-rail Waterfront extension line). The bulk of RTA's service consists of buses, including regular routes, express or flyer buses, loop and paratransit buses. In December 2004, RTA adopted a revised master plan, Transit 2025, in which several rail extensions, bus line improvements, and transit oriented developments are discussed.

RTA has equipped all of its mainline buses with bicycle carriers. Each bus can carry two bicycles. Bicycles are also allowed on rapid transit trains (with a maximum limit of two per car) at all times other than rush hour. Bicycles are not allowed inside the Public Square/Tower City Terminal, except for transferring between trains. There is no additional charge for taking bicycles on RTA.

RTA's major predecessor, the Cleveland Transit System, was the first transit system in the western hemisphere to provide direct rapid transit service from a city's downtown to its major airport.

In 2007, RTA was named the best public transit system in North America by the American Public Transportation Association, for "demonstrating achievement in efficiency and effectiveness."


The GCRTA was established December 30, 1974, and on September 5, 1975 assumed control of the Cleveland Transit System (a successor to the Cleveland Railway), which operated the heavy rail line from Windermeremarker to Cleveland Hopkins Airportmarker and the local bus systems, and Shaker Heights Rapid Transit (the descendant of a separate streetcar system formed by the Van Sweringen brothers to serve their Shaker Heightsmarker development), which operated the two interurban light rail lines from downtown to Shaker Heights. A month later, the RTA assumed control over the suburban bus systems operated by Maple Heightsmarker, North Olmsted, Brecksvillemarker, Garfield Heightsmarker, and Euclidmarker.

The RTA had to undertake a number of renovations to the rail system, as the Shaker Heights lines (renamed the Blue and Green lines) had not been significantly renovated since their creation in 1920. They were largely rebuilt by 1981, and the downtown stationmarker at Tower City Centermarker was heavily rebuilt by 1987. In 1994, a walkway and skyway was added from the Tower City station to Jacobs Fieldmarker and Quicken Loans Arenamarker, and the Blue and Green lines were extended to the waterfront area by 1996.

Seventy Five Cleveland Transit System PCC Streetcars were sold in 1952 to Torontomarker to be used by the Toronto Transit Commission. The last of the Cleveland models operated for 30 years in Toronto until 1982.

Euclid Corridor Project

In 2005, RTA began building a bus rapid transit line along Euclid Avenue from Public Squaremarker to University Circle and then to East Clevelandmarker. This was originally to be a subway line running under Euclid Avenue, but the high cost of such a project caused it to be reduced in scope, resulting in the current bus rapid transit project. The Euclid Corridor project also included a complete rebuild of Euclid Avenue from storefront to storefront, bringing with it new sidewalks, landscaping and trees, lighting, and a large public art initiative, that proponents of the project hope will spur investment in the city's traditional main thoroughfare.

The Euclid Corridor Vehicles (ECV) operate in an exclusive center median busway from Public Square to E. 107th Street and transitioning curbside through University Circle to the Windermere Rapid Transit Stationmarker in East Cleveland, one of RTA's most highly used facilities. The ECVs connect services to the Red Line and other service routes. These low-floor, articulated 62 ft buses are quiet, environmentally friendly, and served by a low-sulfur-diesel engine to power smaller electrical motors mounted near the wheels of the vehicles.

Included in the project was funding for the integration of several public art components. In addition to art installations and other aesthetic improvements, more than a dozen interactive touchscreen kiosks were placed along the corridor. Each kiosk includes transit timetables and RTA news, as well as audiovisual exhibits focusing on the history of Euclid Avenue and the city of Cleveland. More than 60 historical sites, themes, and people are represented on the kiosks, which utilize oral history audio, historic and contemporary images, and brief historical essays to curate the city's history. The kiosks were created by the history department at Cleveland State Universitymarker and were designed by Epstein Design Partners in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Naming rights for the line were purchased by the Cleveland Clinicmarker and University Hospitals for twenty-five years. The BRT route, originally named the "Silver Line", which serves the two major health industry employers in Cleveland, is named the HealthLine.

As sections were completed, they were opened to traffic; the entire stretch within the project area was open by October 24, 2008 as part of its grand opening October 24–26, 2008.


When RTA was formed, the voters of Cuyahoga County approved a 1% county-wide sales tax, which constitutes about 70% of its operating revenue. This funding source has helped RTA maintain a higher level of service than other transit agencies in comparable cities, and it also helps RTA retain some degree of political autonomy. However, it also makes RTA unusually susceptible to economic downturns.

In recent years, RTA has undertaken great efforts to improve efficiency and eliminate unnecessary costs. These efforts have included mergers with the two remaining autonomous transit agencies in Cuyahoga County, the North Olmsted Municipal Bus Line and Maple Heights Transit, and the redesigning of its routes in the suburban areas southeast, west, and south of Cuyahoga County.


Effective September 1, 2009:

Bus Rapid Park-n- Ride Bus Loop/ Circu- lator Senior/ Dis- abled* Para- transit† Out-of- County Trolley
Cash   $2.25   $2.25   $2.50 $1.50   $1.00   $2.25 $3.50 Free
All Day Pass‡   $5.00**   $2.50
5 Trip Farecard $11.25 $11.25 $12.50 $7.50   $5.00 $11.25
7 Day Pass $22.50 $22.50 $25.00   $10.00 $22.50
Monthly Pass $76.00 $76.00 $85.00 $32.00 $76.00
* All Senior/Disabled cash fares, farecards and passes require passenger to show valid RTA Senior ID, RTA Disabled ID or Medicare card.
ADA certified Paratransit passengers may ride fixed-route bus and rapid service at no cost.
All Day Passes are available for purchase on all RTA vehicles at the farebox and at retail agents. They provide for unlimited rides on rapids, regular buses, Park-n-Ride buses, loop buses, and community circulators until 3:00 a.m. the next day.
** All Day Passes for children are $2.50.

RTA buses

Image:DSCF1871.JPG|A 2004 NABI 40CLF equipped with a bike rack.Image:9400Flexible.jpg|A 1994 Flxible Metro D. These buses are CNG fueled and are the last remaining Flxibles in main line service.Image:RTA 7X.jpg|A 1997 NovaBus WFD RTS RTWFD82. These coaches first ran the streets of Cleveland in December of 1997 with their CNG brothers in mid 1998.Image:DSCF1409.jpg|Added to the fleet in Early 1998,these NovaBus RTS "WFD"s were Cleveland's second and final order of Suburban style Transit coachesImage:DSCF0227.jpg|Added to the fleet in the spring of 1999,these NovaBus LFS coaches are Cleveland's first low floor busesImage:2108atWindermere.jpg|With 50 in all, these 2001 coaches are Cleveland's second order of the low floor NovaBus LFS series and will be the last time Cleveland will deal with NovaBus.‎Image:HealthLine_2.jpg|RTA runs 21 rapid transit vehicles as part of the HealthLine bus rapid transit system.


RTA's coaches are numbered by the year of the bus. For example, Coach 2509 is a NABI 2005 coach. Except the 9500s and the CNG 9700s, which are 1998 model coaches.

Numbering system:
  • 63xx-64xx are handicapped and Circulator buses. The 6300s are Orion Model IIs while the 6400s are Thomas Built SLF30s. The Orion IIs feature the Cummins ISB engine with an Allison AT545 transmission. The Thomas Built SLF30s come with the Mercedes Benz mobel 904 four cylinder diesel engine. Transmission is believed to be the Allison B300R. RTA discontinued all Circulator Service in September 2009. The 64xx series has been repainted to the standard Silver, Red and Blue color coaches and are being used on weekend low-ridership routes out of the Triskett Garage.
  • 90xx-94xx are the Flxible Metro series coaches; , In early 1995, RTA purchased 6 suburban style Metro D coaches from NJ Transit. These were labelled 9300s although they are 1994 year models. All of these coaches have been retired. They come with a host of engine/transmission options as listed:
1990: Cummins L-10E/Voith 863ADR1991: Cummins L-10E/Voith 863,864ADR1992: Detroit Diesel 6V92TA/Allison VR-731 ATEC1994 Ex-NJ Transit: Cummins C8.3E/ ZF Ecomat HP5901994: Detroit Series 50G/Allison VR-731 ATEC
  • 95xx-97xx are Nova Bus RTS coaches. About 80% are laid up at the Woodhill Garage awaiting disposition. These come powered by a Detroit Diesel Series 50G/Series 50E engine hooked to an Allison VR-731 ATEC. Also under the 9500 numbering at 10 1995 Flexible Metro D coaches. These are suburban style buses with the numbering 9501 to 9510. They come with the CNG fueled Detroit Diesel Series 50G engine and the Allison VR-731 ATEC transmission.
  • 99xx-21xx are the Nova Bus LFS series from 1999 and 2001 respectfully. Comes powered with the Cummins ISC engine, mated to an Allison B400R5 ATEC
  • 22xx-28xx are the current NABI series. from 2600 up, these have the massive Cummins ISM engine and B400R transmission while earlier coaches come standard with the Detroit Diesel Series 50EGR engine and B400R5 transmission.
  • 29xx-Euclid Avenue New Flyer DE60LF-BRT Coaches. These come equipped with the Cummins ISL engine and Allison EP40 Hybri-Drive system.
  • 30xx are the New Flyer D60LFR articulated series coaches out of the Triskett Garage. Currently service on lines 22 & 26 are only available. These buses are 62 feet long with 3 doors and uses ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel. Engine is the Cummins ISL with what is believed to be the Allison B500R Transmission.
  • 10xx/17xx-MCI Greyhound style coaches. The 1000s are 40 footers, basically a transit styled 102D3 except 1050 and 1051, which are 45 footers based on the 102DL3 coach. The rest are your basic D4500 in transit style. All buses come standard with the Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine and Allison B500 transmission. All coaches come with a stage 1 Jake Brake.

See also


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