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RTA Raises Fares and Cuts Service to Help Close a Budget Gap

The RTA board has approved a rate hike to help close a budget gap.
The RTA board has approved a rate hike to help close a budget gap.
The RTA board has approved a rate hike to help close a budget gap.
Credit KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU
The RTA board has approved a rate hike to help close a budget gap.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authorityriders will pay higher bus and train fares and have less service starting in August.

Today, the board approved fare increases as part of aplanto eliminate a $7 million budget shortfall. But asWKSU’sKevinNiedermierreports, the changes are not considered a solution toRTA’sfinancial woes.

In August, single ride fares will go up 25 cents to $2.50, and they’ll go up another 25 cents in August 2018. Para-transit fares will go up 25 cents this August and another 25 cents in each of the following three years. Service on several lesser-used routes will also be cut or reduced.

RTA CEO Joe Calabrese calls the actions tough decisions designed to have the least impact on riders. But he believes this will not be the last such adjustment.

“Not just in Cleveland, but it’s happening all over the state and all over the country. Funding at the state level has been reduced by 80 percent over the last 15 years. So with less money coming in we certainly cannot be doing more.

"And it’s very unfortunate. More is wanted, more is needed for economic development, to get people to jobs, to get people to school. I really believe we’re doing the best we can with the resources we have available to us.”

Calabrese says steeper fare increases could have eliminated this shortfall, but that would have been too much of a burden for many riders.  It is RTA’s first increase in seven years.

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