Other transit agencies
No other transit agency in Northeast Ohio comes close to the size or level of service of RTA. But there are nine other transit agencies that cover the rest of the region. They vary greatly, from Summit County's METRO system with over 30 regular bus routes to Geauga County's small Dial-a-Ride service for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Here's what you'll need to know to use them.
Metro Regional Transit Authority
The Metro Regional Transit Authority is the second-largest transit agency in Northeast Ohio, offering more than 30 regular bus routes and 11 special service routes throughout the City of Akron and the rest of Summit County. Regular service is available Monday through Friday, and additional service is available Saturdays on selected routes. There is no Sunday or holiday service.
The general one-way fare is $1.00, and the exact amount is required upon boarding the bus since drivers do not carry change. Students pay 65¢ and seniors (over 65 years of age) and people with disabilities pay 50¢. Up to two children can ride free with every fare-paying adult. Monthly passes and multiple ticket booklets are also available at discounted rates. Transfers between routes are free and good for one hour. Ask the driver for one when boarding the first bus of your trip.
METRO operates two "North Coast Express" direct bus routes between Akron and downtown Cleveland. One-way fare is $3.00. These buses operate on city streets in Summit County and then travel to and from Cuyahoga County on the interstates.
In addition, some METRO buses connect with RTA, such as METRO bus #101 with RTA bus #77F at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brecksville. Check schedules for transfer times.
Please note that only those buses designated with a wheelchair symbol in the Metro bus route timetables are wheelchair accessible.
LAKETRAN is the third-largest transit system in Northeast Ohio and serves Mentor, Painesville, Willoughby, Fairport Harbor, Madison and other Lake County destinations. Six fixed bus routes provide service within Lake County, Monday through Friday. Some buses also operate on Saturdays, but the routes they service sometimes differ from weekday routes, so be sure to check a printed schedule or call the LAKETRAN Answer Line before setting your itinerary. There is no Sunday LAKETRAN service.
Bus stops along LAKETRAN's six fixed routes are located at major destinations and intersections and are indicated by LAKETRAN bus stop signs. Transfers between routes are free and can be obtained from the drivers. The one-way fare on the local fixed routes is 75¢. Seniors, people with disabilities, Medicare cardholders and children (ages 2-12) pay just 35¢. Exact change is required.
Four commuter routes provide rush-hour service between Lake County and downtown Cleveland. Commuter buses depart from Mentor, Madison, Willowick and Wickliffe. Park-n-Ride lots are located at the Mentor Civic Center, the Madison Village Fire Station, and Lakeland Community College. Gateway Flyer buses depart from these sites. Call LAKETRAN for scheduling information.
Park-n-Ride service and Cleveland Flyer service are $2 each way, or you can purchase 11 rides in advance for $20. LAKETRAN routes also connect with several RTA routes, including #39X, #39F and #39BX at Shoregate shopping center in Willowick. Please check RTA and LAKETRAN schedules for details.
Dial-A-Ride is a door-to-door assisted transportation system for all Lake County residents, with a special emphasis on senior citizens and people with disabilities. Travel is limited to Monday through Saturday for Lake County destinations and for Cuyahoga County medical facilities in the University Circle area (check with LAKETRAN for details). Fares are $3 each way for non-resident adults, $1 each way for Lake County residents, senior citizens with a Golden Buckeye Card, people with disabilities and children (ages 2 - 12). Trips outside of Lake county are slightly more expensive. Reservations are necessary, and space is limited.
University Circle Bus Systems
If you lead or would like to lead a more car-free lifestyle and you live, work or study within the University Circle area on Cleveland's east side, you're in great shape thanks to the five free shuttle bus services run by University Circle, Inc. (UCI). UCI is a nonprofit development and service organization working to support and advance the cultural, educational, health care, religious and social service institutions that are the pride of Northeast Ohio. Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall (home of The Cleveland Orchestra), major hospitals and many, many other outstanding institutions are along UCI's shuttle routes.
University Circle is easily accessible from the RTA #6 and #9 buses (and many others) and the Red Line Rapid transit trains. Once you're in the circle, UCI's shuttle services give you lots of choices.
Circlelink bus shuttles provide access to major University Circle destinations every 15 minutes from 6:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Circlelink can also get you to the Mt. Sinai Medical Center from 6:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every half hour on weekdays. Pick-ups are at Circlelink bus stops only (look for the signs along the side streets). All Circlelink buses are wheelchair accessible.
The University Hospitals of Cleveland Shuttle (UHC Shuttle) provides transportation between the bus stops of major University Circle parking areas and various hospital locations. The UHC Shuttle is available every 20 minutes every day, 24 hours a day. Some, but not all, buses are wheelchair accessible.
The Route C CWRU Commuter Route shuttle buses link CWRU campus buildings with commuter parking lots along Euclid Avenue. Service is available every 10 -12 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, but not during the summer and on major holidays. Some, but not all, buses are wheelchair accessible.
The three Campus Loop shuttle buses (the North Loop, the Campus Flyer and the South Loop) run continuously in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. every day. The North and South Loop buses arrive at designated stops every 12 minutes. The campus flyer arrives at designated stops every 10 minutes. Service for all routes is reduced during school breaks, holidays and during the summer, and there is no service on Christmas and New Year's Day. Some, but not all, buses are wheelchair accessible.
Lorain County Transit
Lorain County Transit (LCT) provides fixed-route and Dial-A-Ride transit thoughout Lorain County with connecting service to the Greater Cleveland RTA system in Avon Lake and North Olmsted. LCT's fixed-route service includes five regular local bus routes that serve Lorain, Elyria, Oberlin, Avon, Avon Lake, North Ridgeville, Amherst, Wellington, LaGrange, Grafton and Sheffield Lake. Lorain County Transit bus signs are placed along the fixed route, but be aware that there are no fixed bus stops. To catch a bus simply wave to the driver anywhere along the route, on the same side of the street as the bus.
All fixed-route services are available Monday through Friday (except holidays), with most routes beginning service before 7 a.m. and ending by 6 p.m. Only the Lorain-Elyria-Oberlin bus provides weekend service. Please check individual schedules for times. Bus fares are $1.25 and should be paid in exact change upon boarding the bus (60¢ for senior citizens, people with disabilities and children ages 3 to 12; children under 3 ride free with paying adult). Monthly commuter passes are also available. Call LCT for prices and sale locations.
Commuter connecting service permits LCT riders to travel to Cuyahoga County destinations by connecting with the Greater Cleveland RTA Express Bus #31X in Avon Lake and RTA routes #75X and #63F in North Olmsted.
Dial-A-Ride and Need-A-Lift service is curb-to-curb service that is available to Lorain County residents who live outside the fixed-route system. These services are provided by Avon Lake Dial-A-Bus, Oberlin Rural Transit Program and Vermilion Community Services in conjunction with Lorain County Transit. Days and hours of service are limited. Call the contact telephone numbers for details.
Brunswick Transit Alternative
Brunswick Transit Alternative (BTA) is a transit agency that, not suprisingly, serves the City of Brunswick, in northern Medina County. Bus routes are operated by the BTA Monday through Friday from 6:20 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. during school months and 7:20 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. during the rest of the year. Saturday service is available from 10:20 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. No Sunday or holiday service is available.
Routes are identified on posted signs as either north (red N inside a square) or south (green S inside a triangle), but buses can be boarded anywhere along the route simply by hailing the driver. Fares are 25¢ for adults and students and 10¢ for seniors and people with disabilities (exact fare is required).
Transfers between routes are free. All buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Brunswick bus routes easily connect with the RTA system through morning and afternoon rush-hour bus service on RTA bus #451 along Pearl Road (US Route 42). Check BTA and RTA system schedules for details. Schedules may also be picked up at Brunswick City Hall and local libraries.
Kent State University Campus Bus Service
The Kent State University (KSU) Campus Bus Service provides transportation for the public to and from Kent State University campus destinations and surrounding areas within Portage County. Service follows the academic calendar, so there are often fewer buses or no service at all during weekends, summer months and holiday breaks. Service on some routes begins as early as 6:30 a.m. and runs as late as 10 p.m. Call for detailed information.
KSU Campus Bus Service is free between bus stops within and adjacent to the boundaries of Kent State University. KSU students also ride free beyond the KSU service area if they show their student ID card. Fares for the general public are $1 (50¢ for people with disabilities and senior citizens) and should be paid on the bus with exact change or by using passes or tickets purchased in advance. Tickets and monthly passes are available by mail and at several sites in Ravenna, on the KSU campus and in Kent (call for specific sales locations).
There is also direct service to Akron ($2 each way or books of ten tickets for $16) and Cleveland ($5 each way, $7 round-trip or books of 5, 10 or more for $3.50 per ticket) that connects with RTA and METRO transit services. Other transportation services are available to help match riders to car pools and ride share opportunities. Some, but not all, buses can accommodate wheelchairs, and some buses are equipped with bike racks.
Portage Area Regional Transit Authority
Outside of the City of Kent, where the Kent State University Campus Bus Service provides frequent transit service for car-free residents, Portage County is not a particularly good place to lead a car-free lifestyle. However, the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority (PARTA) does offer limited service with two scheduled fixed bus routes and Dial-A-Ride services within the county for county residents.
The first fixed route provides service Monday through Friday (except holidays), 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., to Windham, Garrettsville, Freedom Township and Ravenna, with morning and afternoon trips available between Mantua and Ravenna. The second route is the Southeast Kent Circulator, offering service within the southeast portion of Kent. This route is available Monday through Friday (except holidays), 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is flexible and drivers will travel up to 3/4 of a mile off route when requested in advance.
Dial-A-Ride service offers door-to-door service for Portage County residents. Reservations are required at least one day in advance, and round-trip reservations should be made at that time, if needed. Dial-A-Ride service is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drivers will pick you up at any address in Kent, Ravenna, Brady Lake, Franklin Township or Ravenna Township and take you anywhere within the PARTA service area. Service to other areas of the county is also available on a limited basis. All PARTA buses are wheelchair accessible.
Geauga County Transit
Geauga County is another part of Northeast Ohio where living car-free is not very convenient, unless you live in one of the older towns' neighborhoods and you can walk or bike to work, school, shopping and other services. Geauga County Transit does provide service to county residents with a door-to-door transportation system geared towards the elderly and people with disabilities. Service is available Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. No fixed-route bus service is currently available. Reservations are required at least two days in advance, but no more than three weeks in advance. Same-day service is available, but riders must be flexible about their pickup time. All buses are wheelchair accessible.
Fares for destinations anywhere within Geauga County are $4 each way. Seniors, people with disabilities, and children ages 6 to 17 ride for $2. Children under 6 years of age ride free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Medina County Transit
Medina County is still another part of Northeast Ohio where living car-free is difficult, unless you live in Brunswick (where Brunswick Transit Alternative provides service Monday through Saturday) or in downtown neighborhoods of Medina, Wadsworth and other older towns where walking and bicycling are convenient options.
Limited transit service is provided, however, by Medina County Transit with door-to-door service between any two locations within the county for county residents. There is also limited service available between Medina County destinations and several Summit and Cuyahoga County locations. Service is available Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with evening and weekend service available by special arrangement.
Medina County Transit service also provides specialized services for older adults and persons with disabilities. Reservations are taken by phone between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. up to two weeks in advance, but at least one day in advance. Capacity is limited.
One-way fares vary, based on distance traveled. The base fare for seniors and the disabled is $1.38 and goes up in 8¢ increments. Older adult passengers may ride without paying a fare, but are requested to make a donation. The full-price fare for the general public starts at $2.75 and goes up in 15¢ increments. Children under 6 ride free with an adult, as do people accompanying passengers with disabilities as personal aides.
Fare assistance is available to people with disabilities and for J.O.B.S. Program participants through the Medina County Department of Human Services. Call 330-225-7755 for more information.