GCRTA working to replace aging fleet

February 14, 2022 — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is in the process of replacing its aging fleet.

In January, RTA introduced 16 new environmentally-friendly buses to be used on the HealthLine bus rapid transit system. The buses run on compressed natural gas (CNG) which emits 90% less nitrogen oxide compared to traditional diesel buses. They can travel up to 400 miles on a full tank.

Other tech highlights include signal prioritization for HealthLine so buses spend less time stopped at traffic lights, 360-degree security cameras, and a turn warning system to alert surrounding pedestrians. Six ultrasonic sensors will guide operators for a safe platform approach. A digital dashboard will display gauges and communicate mechanical diagnostics. 

All buses include features that provide additional service to passengers, including:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • LCD screens that display real time route updates, along with news and weather reports
  • Easy to clean plastic seats
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers at each door
  • Bike and stroller storage inside the bus
  • Windows that can be opened for fresh air

Additionally, RTA recently issued a request for proposals to replace the agency’s rail cars. Proposals are due in March, and the contract award recommendation is expected to go to the RTA Board in late summer.

The current rail cars are between 36 and 39 years old. The project is estimated to cost $300 million. RTA has secured some of the money and is seeking additional competitive grant funding. The rail project includes:

  • Replacement of 40 Tokyu heavy rail vehicles (HRVs)
  • Replacement of 34 Breda light rail vehicles (LRVs)
  • Associated infrastructure upgrades to the rail maintenance facility
  • Equipment and stations to accommodate the new rail vehicles
  • Design, inspection, testing, and force account costs.

Upon RTA Board approval this spring, the agency will be migrating from its RTA CLE app to the Transit App, joining EzFare’s mobile ticketing program. Many transit systems in Ohio (including Laketran, Akron Metro, and SARTA) are part of this program. With EzFare, riders can use their mobile ticketing app to:

  • Obtain information on scheduled service
  • Receive real-time updates
  • Purchase fare media