Something to watch from Lorain County

15 09 2012

Though it is only a trial run, it looks like something good for public transit has emerged from casinos opening – by constitutional amendment – in all the major cities of the state.  On Monday, September 10th the Lorain County Transit started running regular routes to downtown Cleveland with park-and-ride at three locations in Elyria and Lorain.  Though there may have been planning on this for years, the spark for this expanded service seems to have been a way to cash in on the Horseshoe Casino opening in public square.  Or, at least that is how it has played out in the media.  Regardless, it looks like a few Lorain County residents have started to take advantage of this service for non-gambling purposes.

Other neighboring transit services have also talked about or expanded busing to downtown Cleveland with mentions of the casino.  Metro in Summit County to the south expanded its weekday commuter route at the end of August.    And from the beginning of the casino’s opening, Laketran in Lake County east of Cleveland has promoted its commuter bus service in connection to the casino (and other downtown attractions).  

Will this piggy-backing on the casino change how commuters and residents of other counties get downtown?


Increased fares for COTA and Lorain County

7 01 2012

A new year brings the occasional fare increase.  This year we find increases at COTA and Lorain County Transit.  Fares will go from $1.75 to $2.00 for a local bus ride.  In Lorain County, the fares will go up to $2.85, which I believe is the highest in the state for routed bus service.  Unfortunately, it looks like more increases for upcoming years.

For good news, there is expanded service for Greater Cleveland RTA and day passes available for Greater Dayton RTA.

Also, we have created a permanent (and hopefully updated) list of fares across the state.

Happy belated New Year!

TARTA Scorecard Update

11 12 2011

Within the last week, three municipalities made decisions on bringing the TARTA opt-out option to the electorate.  The option of allowing a member community to leave the regional transit service (without unanimous approval of the other members) was included in the July state budget.  Perrysburg and Sylvania Township councils both voted to add the referendum to the March ballot.  Rossford chose to not take action, as of yet.   My understanding is that member communities will have the option to leave through 2013.

This Toledo Blade editorial arguing for keeping TARTA together outlines much of the current events.


Election results and Ohio Transit

11 11 2011

From what I can tell, there were two local ballot issues that could affect public transit service on Tuesday: Issue 48 for the city of Cincinnati to ban adding trolley service and a .25 cent sales tax increase in Lorain County that would help prevent more cuts to LCT.

If you did not already hear, Lorain County voters rejected the sales tax increase and the limited funding for LCT is on the chopping block.  In better news for transit in Ohio, Issue 48 was rejected by Cincinnati voters and street car plans are still in the works.  That street car may yet get built.

Greater Dayton RTA to offer one-day passes

6 11 2011

This week, Greater Dayton RTA proposed that they were going to start selling daily passes next year. I thought I would look into what transit services offer daily passes.  This led to the chart below.

*As a disclaimer, I wouldn’t put too much into the actual prices of fares.  I would say that comparing smaller transit services with the larger agencies will lead to noticeable price differences.  In the larger agencies, the rider is getting more service for his or her money, which is often more than a smaller transit service. Also, COTA and SORTA have varying pricing structures (in Cincinnati they are called zones).  To make the chart easier, I only included the fares for the smallest region.  (Local in COTA and Cincinnati for SORTA).  Clicking on the agency name will take you to the fare price structure page.

Unless you are planning on traveling all day, making three or four stops, several hours apart, buying two single fares should be cheaper than buying a daily pass.  This only makes sense as a business. A few transit agencies (Akron Metro and SARTA) make it easy on the rider by simply pricing the day pass as twice a single fare.  It gets a little bit more complicated if the transit agency charges a fee for transferring.  Currently, this might be a benefit for buying a one-day pass with GDRTA, who charges a nominal .25 fee for transfers.  Buying an All-Day pass would avoid having to deal with planning transfers.

A third factor that would be useful in determining a price for All-day passes , which I won’t go into much, is the hours of operation of the agency.  If buses only run from 7 am to 6 pm, there is much less opportunity to use more than 2 rides.

Overall, if logistically possible, the one-day pass is a good idea.  For outsiders (travelers and locals who typically don’t use transit), a one-day pass is very welcoming in setting a one-time fee.  Depending on the economics of pricing a pass, it may not be used by frequent riders, but it is nice to have.

Fare Transfer Daily Monthly/31 Senior
Akron Metro $1.25 $2.50 $50.00 $0.50
Allen RTA $1.00 Free $34.00 $0.50
COTA $1.75 2 hours $4.00 $55.00
GCRTA $2.25 2 hours $5.00 $85.00 $1.00
GDRTA $1.75 $0.25 $5.00 (coming soon) $55.00 $0.85
Laketran $1.75 Free No No $0.75
LCT $2.35 Free $5.00 $94.00 $1.15
RCT $1.50 Free $40.00 $0.75
SARTA $1.50 $3.00 $45.00 $0.75
SCAT $0.75 $0.25 $55.00
SORTA $1.75 $0.50 No $70.00 $0.85
TARTA $1.00 none $40.00 $0.50
WRTA $1.25 $0.25 No $42.00 $0.60

More updates and map of WestShore Commuter “Rail”

30 10 2011

So, we have been seeing off-and-on sightings of this idea of connecting Sandusky to downtown Cleveland with commuter rail.  Last we heard, this would be a 15-year-plan and needed more study – leaving some skepticism about the probability of the project going forward.  Well, this week that study was published by a consulting firm for the WestShore Corridor Transportation Project.  It is now a 16-year plan.  More importantly, it calls for action now — mainly, adding commuter bus service to Lorain County.

As the PD noted, all other bordering counties to Cuyahoga County have some form of commuter bus service (Portage is somewhat limited).  I would compare Lorain most with Lake County to the east of Cleveland.  Lorain County has a population of over 300,000, with two cities over 50,000 (Elyria and Lorain) and several Cleveland exurbs that usually rank among the fastest growing municipalities in Ohio (North Ridgeville and Avon/Avon Lake).  The county is heavily populated Elyria/Lorain eastward and connected via I-90 (2 breaks off as a separate highway near Elyria).  A ride from Elyria to downtown is approximately 40 minutes (probably longer during rush hours).

Lake County has a population of around 230,000, with a bulk of the population in the western parts of the county, and connects to Cleveland via I-90 (Mentor to Cleveland is approximately 30 minutes).  But, Laketran runs 6 routes (and to my count 25 buses) westward towards Cleveland everyday.

In terms of Lorain County size and future projections (Lorain is growing much faster than Lake), it would seem commuter busing should work on at least a comparable scale.

Of note, I noticed that this Plain Dealer story was picked up on the wire by several other non-NEO papers (Dayton Daily News, the Republic out of Columbus, Indiana [near Indianapolis]).  If you include commuter rail, people will have opinions and the story will travel.

from the Plain Dealer

X campaign makes stop in Cleveland

21 09 2011

This story did not get a whole lot of local news coverage, but the American Public Transportation Association (and several other interested parties)’s “Don’t X out Public Transit” campaign made its one Ohio stop in Ohio on Tuesday.  The basis of the campaign is to push for more funding (or at least less cuts than currently proposed in the House) on a long-term federal highway bill.  Current funding is in place through next March.  The following post on The Hill’s Transportation blog discusses what is at stake.  For more information on the campaign and issues, do check out their website’s news page, which has some pictures of the Cleveland event.