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Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) rail, bus and paratransit riders pay too much for transferring between service lines in the agency’s current fare structure, according to a recent analysis conducted by LTK Engineering Services Inc.
The study found that riders, especially minorities and people with low income, pay “excessively” for transfers under GCRTA’s current fare structure, and that they are not purchasing the “best choice” fare option for their trips.
For example, frequent riders — or those who use transit five day per week and make at least 10 trips — account for 59 percent of GCRTA’s ridership. While the best choice for this type of travel is a monthly pass, many riders use weekly passes instead. This fare choice costs riders 13 percent more if they ride all month, according to the study.
Additionally, LTK found that agency’s fare structure is too complex and the differences between fares is too insignificant which causes confusion.
To address this, LTK recommended GCRTA research the rationale behind fare product choices, conduct public outreach targeted at low-income and minority communities and implement fare capping.
When, and if, GCRTA implements new changes to its fare structure in the future, LTK recommended a four-trip reload for fare cards, a nominal charge fee for transfers, a reduced day pass cost and a monthly passes priced closer to four weekly passes.
LTK also recommended the agency develop regional agreements with other transportation modes to address multimodal travel trends.
The study, which analyzed ridership, revenue and the impact of changes to fare structure on low income and minority populations, is one of five that supports the GCRTA strategic plan. The results of the fare analysis will be used to develop final recommendations for GCRTA’s future fare policy for rail, bus and paratransit services.