Mainline Buses

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

bus routes |lines = 1 rapid transit
2 interurban
1 light rail
87 bus routes |lines = 1 rapid transit: Red line
2 interurban/light rail: Blue and Green line
1 light rail: Waterfront
87 bus routes:
68 Local
1 Bus rapid transit
7 Express
12 Freeway-Flyer |vehicles = 60 rapid transit cars
48 light rail cars
620 buses
77 ParaTransit shuttles |stations = 18 rapid transit
34 interurban/light rail
8,557 bus stops including 1,354 shelters |ridership = |track_gauge = |reporting marks = }}

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (officially the GCRTA, but historically and locally referred to as the RTA) is the public transit agency for Cleveland, Ohio, United States, and the surrounding suburbs of Cuyahoga County. 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, community circulators, loop and ParaTransit buses. RTA recently released 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 formed on September 5, 1975 with the merger of Cleveland Transit System (a successor to the Cleveland Railway), which operated the heavy rail line from Windermere to Cleveland Hopkins Airport 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 Heights development), which controlled 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 Heights, North Olmsted, Brecksville, Garfield Heights, and Euclid.

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 station at Tower City Center was heavily rebuilt by 1987. In 1994, a walkway and skyway was added from the Tower City station to Jacobs Field and Quicken Loans Arena, and the Blue and Green lines were extended to the waterfront area by 1996.

The Cleveland Railway Co. streetcars were sold to Toronto 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 Square to University Circle and then to East Cleveland. This was originally to be a subway line running under Euclid Avenue, but the high cost of such a project has caused it to be reduced several times, resulting in the current bus rapid transit project. The Euclid Corridor project also includes 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) will 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 Station in East Cleveland, one of RTA's most highly used facilities. The ECV will connect services to the Red Line and other service routes. These low-floor, articulated 62 ft. vehicles are quiet, environmentally friendly, and served by a low-sulfur-diesel engine to power smaller electrical motors mounted near the wheels of the vehicles.

Naming rights for the line were purchased by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals for twenty-five years. The BRT route, which will serve the two major health industry employers in Cleveland, will be named the HealthLine.

As of 2008, Euclid east of East 14th Street to East 55th Street has opened up to buses and motorists.


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 January 7, 2008:

Bus Rapid Park-n- Ride Bus Loop/ Circu- lator Senior/ Dis- abled* Para- transit† Out-of- County Trolley
Cash   $1.75   $1.75   $2.00   $1.00     $.75   $1.75 $3.00 Free
All Day Pass‡   $4.00**   $1.75
5 Trip Farecard   $8.75   $8.75 $10.00 $5.00   $3.75
7 Day Pass $17.50 $17.50 $20.00   $7.50
Monthly Pass $63.00 $63.00 $70.00 $29.00
* 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 $1.75.

RTA buses


RTA's coaches are numbered by the year of the bus. For example, Coach 2509 is a NABI 2005 coach.

Numbering system:

  • 63xx-67xx are handicapped and Circulator buses
  • 91xx-94xx are the Flxible coaches; as of May 2008, RTA is phasing these out
  • 95xx-98xx are Nova Bus RTS coaches
  • 99xx-21xx are the Nova Bus LFS series
  • 22xx-28xx are the current NABI series
  • 29xx-Euclid Avenue BRT Coaches
  • 10xx-MCI Greyhound style coaches

See also


External links

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