The Cleveland Stater is published online and in print by students enrolled in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University.
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ON THE FRONT PAGE
Fall RTA schedule unlikely to undergo drastic changes
BY EDUARDO OTERO
Cleveland State University students who rely on the widely-used 55 Clifton bus as their primary means of transportation shouldn’t expect many changes to its time table when service routes are adjusted before fall semester, according to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
Despite recent fluctuations in its schedule, no significant modifications are expected to befall the 55 route when the changes are implemented in August, said RTA service planner John Palagyi.
Nonetheless, Palagyi cautiously noted that he could make no promises about the route’s future beyond this summer.
Palagyi said the controversial June 14 service adjustment to the 55 route, which severely limited the number of buses arriving to and leaving CSU during evening hours, was budget related.
Whether or not any additional service changes will be required “depends on how the budget looks for the end of the year, looking into next year,” he said.
“The money that we received last year, which allowed us to postpone some of the service reductions that we were going to have to make, is running out and sales tax is under performing,” Palagyi said.
Passenger fares comprise approximately 18 percent of RTA’s operating revenue, Palagyi said – the rest is made up of tax funding from local sales tax returns.
Due to underperforming sales tax revenue, RTA has struggled in recent months to balance its budget without laying off employees, reducing services and raising fares.
“In the 1990s, sales tax revenue used to grow year to year,” Palagyi said, “which allowed us to deal with increases in the cost of fuel and inflation, while actually adding some services.”
“Since the late 1990s, it’s either been flat or 1 percent, which doesn’t keep up with inflation,” he said.
The decision was quickly reversed after about a week, Palagyi said. The 55 time table was restored on June 22 because of initial savings and a number of rider complaints.
“I can’t say that we won’t have to do it [again] in the future, because we have to get more and more efficient in order to keep service to as many areas of the county as we can,” Palagyi said.
The next round of service changes are intended to coincide with local public schools’ new academic year, Palagyi said.
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