You drive us

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You Drive Us.

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You drive us
to connect our community.

At RTA, we don’t just deliver our riders from point A to point B. We connect them to jobs, healthcare, and family and friends, while offering amenities that make for a more enjoyable ride.

Our new Mission and Vision help us navigate every day.

Mission Connecting the community

Vision Leading the delivery of safe and creative mobility solutions and community connections.

How do we live our Mission and work toward our Vision?

We rolled out a new internal program
aligned with our updated Mission and Vision.
It’s focused on delivering exceptional
customer service to riders, peers,
and our community.

We started training in late 2020, and all employees
will have completed training by the end of 2021.

We implemented a new Diversity and Inclusion
program that included Zoom conversations and
comprehensive training for our staff.

Diversity and Inclusion program

RTA is consistently recognized as a leader in workplace
diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud to have a place
in the Greater Cleveland Partnership Hall of Fame.

Greater Cleveland Partnership

Our ten-year Strategic Plan Update 2021 – 2030, titled “Framework for the Future,” was completed and adopted by the Board of Trustees in October 2020.

The Strategic Plan provides a guide for enhancing the customer experience and pursuing capital improvements over the next decade. The planning process included several pillar studies, technical analyses, and robust community engagement to build consensus and create a cohesive plan.

The study highlights vision, goals, existing conditions, strategy identification, and recommendations.

With a geographic focus on Priority Corridors
in transit-oriented urban areas, as well
as job hubs across the region, the Strategic Plan
points to seven key initiatives to create
the framework for the future:

Improve Where and When Buses Travel Improve How Streets Function Improve How Customers Pay Improve Passenger Safety and Comfort Engage with Emerging Technology, Data, and New Mobility Address Funding Challenges Partner to Support Vibrant Communities and Access to Job Centers

We divided the plan’s goals into short, medium, and long-term objectives, which are being rolled into RTA employees’ annual work plans.

Learn more about where
we’re heading in the full strategic Plan

Download the full Strategic Plan

You drive us
to put people first.

When faced with the pandemic, we prioritized
the health and safety of our riders and
employees. With measures in place, we kept
Greater Clevelanders connected as we remained
engaged with our community.

We joined the American Public Transportation
Association’s (APTA) “Health and Safety
Commitments Program.”


This is the public transportation industry’s overarching pledge to passengers that we’ll take all the necessary measures to operate safely as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masked RTA Employee

We enhanced cleaning protocols to meet and
exceed the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC)
standards for COVID-19 safety.

Sanitizing Products
24-Hour Cleaning
Moonbeam 3

We made operational changes to meet and
exceed CDC standards for COVID-19 safety.

Protective Screen
Contactless Payment
Social Distancing

Implemented an employee check-in protocol
before starting work.

We introduced paid sick leave guarantees
for employees to offset the uncertainties
related to the coronavirus. While the federal government
did not mandate it, RTA extended this program
through the first quarter of 2021.

To provide excellent service, we took thoughtful
measures and only reduced services in April by 15%,
while considering all essential workers who needed us most.

With our service changes in June and August, we
restored service back to 93% of pre-COVID levels.

Beyond our operating system,
we commanded resources to keep the
community safe and on track as it
relates to COVID-19 and beyond.

You drive us
to make riding more

We incorporated key findings of the
2019 Fare Equity Study as we focused on making
fares more affordable and more accessible.

The Fare Equity Study was built on customer
surveys and feedback from our riders.

We found that many customers are not
utilizing the most cost-effective fare option—
whether they know it or not.

The current design of RTA’s bus/rail network requires nearly half of all customers to transfer to complete their trip, an issue we’re also addressing with our NEXT GEN RTA system redesign.

About half of the customers who would be best served by using a monthly, weekly, or daily pass, are paying more than necessary.

Many customers are not using the more cost-effective fare option because they can’t afford it, don’t know where to buy it, or find it hard to get.

All-Day Pass changes:

All-Day Passes provide unlimited rides on regular bus and rapid transit routes (including free transfers) for the entire day.

Following the recommendations from the Fare Equity Study, the Board of Trustees reduced the price of these All-Day Passes to match the price of a round-trip cash fare:

All-Day Individual Pass: reduced from $5.50 to $5.00

All-Day Senior/Disabled Pass: reduced from $2.75 to $2.50

The Board of Trustees also reduced the prices of these all-day passes:

All-Day Children’s Pass: (ages 6-12 accompanied by adult) reduced from $2.75 to $2.50

All-Day Student K-12 Pass: reduced from $4.50 to $4.25

All-Day Paratransit Pass: reduced from $7.50 to $7.00

To further assist riders who need to transfer between routes, the RTA Board changed the policy regarding the sale of One-Trip and Two-Trip Farecards, which provide free-transfer privileges. Previously, these were sold only in bulk to organizations. But now, individuals can purchase them in small or large quantities.

Free Pass Free Pass

This year, we’ll continue to
improve accessibility.


Currently, riders can use the RTA CLE app to plan routes, buy fares, and enjoy contactless pay—all from their phones.

Local Vendors

Throughout 2021, we’re focusing on increasing our presence in neighborhoods, and we’re seeking local vendors and stores to be authorized sellers of fare media.

Another 2020 highlight was providing free
rides on Election Day, courtesy of a grant
from the Cleveland Foundation.

We were also awarded the Paradox Prize
of $100,000, which will enable us
to study work-related travel patterns,
fare equity needs, and other issues passengers
face in using public transit to get to
their places of employment.


We’re thrilled to have dedicated funding, which will be crucial as we can continue to evaluate our service offerings and develop attractive “first mile/last mile” connections to transit.

You drive us
to enhance our system.

After countless studies, surveys, and community meetings, we have optimized our system to better serve you. We’re very excited to introduce these improvements, starting this summer.

The overhaul began with community meetings and surveys. We sought our riders’ opinions so we could learn if they would prefer a system that offered greater frequency or more market coverage.

As we worked within budgetary constraints, customers made it clear: they value more frequent service. We then began working in earnest on the system redesign study. Now, we’re almost ready to implement these long-awaited plans.

In 2019, GCRTA worked with Jarrett Walker + Associates to facilitate a pillar study examining potential improvements to the bus network.

The current system was evaluated against various funding and budget scenarios to ensure that we addressed the community’s preference for service frequency and coverage in a cost-effective manner.

We ran online surveys and held public engagement sessions to get feedback on the different funding models and scenarios: one that maximized frequency, and a second that maximized coverage.

Even COVID-19 didn’t stop us from engaging the community. We simply went virtual as we continued to collect feedback on our proposal.

  • We held five virtual public hearings, and additional virtual meetings with partner agencies.
  • Our five public sessions received 6,500 online participants, who collectively streamed our proceedings for over 300 hours.

Both plans were developed within the constraints of our current operating budget. After extensive community input, we found riders are interested in a balance of frequency and coverage, slightly favoring frequency.

We rolled out

Next-Gen RTA

which provides greater frequency and greater
connectivity, all for Greater Cleveland.

Our NEXT GEN RTA service plan provides greater frequency and greater connectivity, all for Greater Cleveland communities.

  • 167,000 more people will be within a ½ mile walk of frequent service.
  • 8,400 more people will be within a ½ mile walk of any transit service.
  • Riders will have access to 11% more jobs in 60 minutes.
  • More one-seat rides:

    • Between low and moderate income neighborhoods and entry-level jobs
    • To and from downtown
    • To and from University Circle jobs

We’re looking to launch these updates on June 13, 2021. In the meantime, you can learn more by visiting our NEXT GEN RTA page in May 2021.

You drive us
to deliver the best experience.

Every year, we deliver tens of millions of rides across 457 square miles. To keep up with this demand, we pay extremely close attention to detail and ensure every vehicle, station, and shelter is in the best shape possible.

We’re executing plans to replace buses and trains that have surpassed their useful life, so riders can keep rolling.

Rail Car Replacement Update

We’re moving forward with our finalized rail car replacement plan.

The projected budget of $300 million will fund not only a fleet of new vehicles, but also required infrastructure improvements to stations, facilities, and track.

We effectively managed 2020 expenditures to permit an increased transfer of $10 million to our Reserve Fund for rail car replacement.

Currently, we have funding to procure our first 18 cars.

An RFP will be issued in March 2021 and is due by late spring/early summer of 2021.

We anticipate the new rail cars to be in service by 2025.

We refreshed our fleets.


We purchased and executed contracts for a new fleet of HealthLine vehicles in 2020. We’re excited to roll out the first seven of them in 2021, and the rest of the fleet in 2022 and 2023.


Ten new Paratransit vehicles were purchased in 2020, to be placed in service by First Quarter 2021, with an additional 10 vehicles to be purchased throughout 2021.

We enhanced our infrastructure
to ensure smoother routes.

Completed construction of the:
  • Light Rail East 75th to Buckeye-Woodhill Track Replacement
  • Puritas Substation
  • New SCADA System
  • Triskett Garage CNG Fueling and Storage Facility

And we have a lot of exciting
projects in the works for 2021.

Complete construction on Triskett Garage CNG Facility upgrades

Complete construction of the Cuyahoga Viaduct Rehabilitation Phase I

Complete construction of the Red Line Fiber Optic System replacement

Complete construction of the East 79th Street Station ADA reconstruction (Opportunity Corridor)

Complete construction of the Warrensville/Van Aken Substation

Complete the design and begin construction of Tower City East Portal repairs investigation and design

Complete replacement of Tower City Tracks 10E/10W and 13 with Low Vibration Track (LVT)

Complete work on the 25Connect project, which focuses on the future of the West 25th Street corridor

You drive us
to offer a smarter ride.

With our newest tech offerings, we aim
to keep customers connected as they ride,
while also helping to close the digital
divide here in our community.

According to the 2019 U.S. Census
American Community Survey (ACS), of any major
U.S. city, Cleveland had the highest percentage
of households without broadband
Internet accounts.


Almost 53,000 Cleveland households—31% of the city’s total—
lacked broadband subscriptions of any kind at any speed
last year, including mobile data plans.

To help address this need, we introduced
free Wi-Fi on 350 buses, 72 rail cars,
82 Paratransit vehicles, and at select stations,
to ensure riders can connect
to work, school, and play.

To date, customers are averaging more than
8 terabytes of data usage per month.

We launched the “Homework Hotspots” program,
which specifically encourages students to tap into
the free Wi-Fi as they await or ride RTA.

This program was introduced in response to Cleveland’s digital divide, and it was especially timely in helping students in local communities who transitioned to virtual learning in 2020.

Participating stations include:

  • Stokes-Windemere Station
  • Cedar-University Station
  • Southgate Transit Center
  • Tower City Station
  • Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center
  • East 55th Station

We promoted the RTA CLE app,
which is free to download and offers safe,
contactless payment transactions
for both riders and operators.

RTA CLE app also enables riders to:

  • Plan trips
  • Buy fares
  • Manage purchasing history
  • Skip lines at the kiosk

We completed the Intelligent
Transportation Systems (ITS) upgrade—
an internal communication
system that benefits everyone.

The previous system was installed in 1999, and the outdated technology led to repair problems and communication issues.

Overall, this system has helped on-time performance meet a record-high of 90%. You can learn more here.

After conducting extensive customer
research, we made these important changes
to enhance our Paratransit services:

  • Implemented street routing in our scheduling software
  • Changed scheduling window to 3 days in advance of trips
  • Revised the customer handbook
  • Improved cancellation call routing
  • Enhanced grouping and ordering of trips
  • Adjusted allowable on-board time based on direct travel time
  • Reworked time-distance calculation methods
  • Equipped Paratransit vehicles with tablets that provide turn-by-turn navigation and real-time Google traffic alerts to ensure the most efficient trips possible

Overall, these improvements led to:

You drive us
to care for the community.

We took additional steps to reduce
our environmental footprint and to continue
our public engagement—all so our
system can make a positive impact,
all over Greater Cleveland.

Over the past few years, we’ve established
and maintained an Environmental Management
System to guide our efforts to be a more
sustainable organization.

We’ve formed teams at our major work locations to reduce utility consumption (electricity, water and natural gas), and waste (increasing recyclables while reducing landfills).

In 2021, we plan to complete LED-based lighting upgrades at the Paratransit District, Southgate Transit Center, Main Office Building, and stations along the HealthLine.

We continue to prepare the Triskett District facility for the bus fleets’ conversion from clean diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG).

We’re working to earn our ISO 14001 certification at four locations: the Hayden and Triskett Bus Districts, the Central Bus Maintenance Facility, and the Main Office Building. ISO 14001 certification represents the current family of standards related to environmental management.

Throughout the past year, we also increased
our efforts to show up for those we serve even—
and especially—in the midst of the pandemic.

  • We volunteered with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to distribute food and help our neighbors in need. We also donated over 1,000 safety kits that included complimentary face masks, hand sanitizer, and other items.
  • We partnered with the Kids’ Book Bank to celebrate National Read Across America Day and distributed books to neighborhood kids at several of our highest-traffic stations.
  • Internally, we held events to raise funds for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Digital Equity Program.

We take all of these measures so that
we can contribute to a cleaner, more livable,
and wonderfully connected community for
everyone across this great region.

You drive us—
and your feedback will
continue to inform our
every decision.

To keep the conversation going,
we have three easy ways in which you can
provide invaluable feedback that will
shape the future of RTA:


Use our online comment form to share suggestions, feedback, staff commendations, and more.

Text Bubble

Call the RTAnswerline at (216) 621-9500, and let us know what we’re doing right or how we can improve.


Sign up to be an RTA Mystery Shopper, where you can use our online scorecard in tandem with our free Wi-Fi to tell us about your most recent ride, right from your seat.

In the meantime, please know that we’ll
keep listening, learning, and making changes,
all for the good of Greater Cleveland.