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?


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

Laketran and the state budget

23 05 2011

Here is a piece from last week about Laketran attempting to affect the state budget process.  Basically, proposed spending (a budget has passed the House and is eminent in the Senate) will not lead to expanded service.  As observers should know (and this article references), most of public transit funding in Ohio does not come from the state.

from The News-Herald

Laketran to build new bus stop at mall

4 08 2010

A few things of note were reported about Laketran in this article about a recent Board of Trustees meeting.  Among them:

1. Laketran will build a new bus stop at the Great Lakes Mall, as per request from property manager and federal funds.  It seems like the mall bus stop is always by the Sears.  Now, not so much.

2. Laketran will start offering “Smart Cards” to be used by riders.  Hopefully all transit systems will offer the card payment method within a few years.

3. Service was down in June from the previous year by 16%.  Why the difference from Western Reserve? (see previous post)

from The News-Herald

One year after cuts in Lake County

21 07 2010

Here is an older retrospective article I missed about Laketran’s service cuts and fares increase in the summer of 2009–One year later.  Though Laketran is a smaller transit agency, these cuts were major; eliminating weekends and cutting routes after 7:00 PM.

from The News-Herald

Laketran GM to stay through 2013

29 06 2010

How much does the head of a smaller, suburban transit system make?  Read this article to find out.  Raymond Jurkowski will stay at Laketran through 2013.  By no means sensational, there is a lot of good tidbits about the inner workings of Laketran from this coverage of a board of trustees meeting.

Laketran has six fixed routes within Lake County and five park-n-ride routes.

from The News Herald