RTA Rapid Transit

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RTA Rapid Transit
GCRTA wordmark logo.svg
Cleveland Skyline 2015.png
Cleveland August 2015 01 (RTA Red Line).jpg
Cleveland August 2015 26 (RTA Blue Line).jpg
GCRTA New Flyer DE60LF-BRT.jpg
Cleveland State Line 10-2015.jpg
OwnerGreater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
LocaleCuyahoga County, Ohio
Transit typeRapid transit
Light rail
Bus rapid transit
Number of lines1 rapid transit: Red
3 light rail: Blue, Green, Waterfront[1]
3 bus rapid transit: Health, Cleveland State, MetroHealth
Number of stations18 rapid transit
34 light rail[1]
Daily ridership8,200 (rapid transit, weekdays, Q4 2021)
1,700 (light rail, weekdays, Q4 2021)[2]
Annual ridership2,420,300 (rapid transit, 2021)
465,100 (light rail, 2021)[2]
Began operationOctober 25, 1859; 162 years ago (1859-10-25)
(first streetcar line);
December 17, 1913; 108 years ago (1913-12-17)
(current lines)
March 15, 1955; 67 years ago (1955-03-15)
(rapid transit);
October 11, 1980; 41 years ago (1980-10-11)
(light rail)
Ended operationOctober 30, 1981; 40 years ago (1981-10-30)
(last streetcar use)
Number of vehicles40 rapid transit cars
34 light rail cars[1]
System length19 mi (31 km) rapid transit
18 mi (29 km) light rail[1]
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
System map

Cleveland RTA Map.png

RTA Rapid Transit (generally known as The Rapid) is a rapid transit, light rail, and bus rapid transit system. The system is owned and operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA).

The system serves Cleveland and surrounding areas in Cuyahoga County. The system currently consists of seven total service lines: one rapid transit rail line; three light rail lines; and three bus rapid transit (BRT) lines.

Considered part of the rapid transit system, the bus lines are included on the official rapid transit map.

Rail Lines[edit]

Four rail lines join at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, the former Cleveland Union Terminal.

Three rail lines share their tracks at Tri-C–Campus District and East 55th stations. This sharing of one route by light and heavy rail trains is quite unusual. The shared stations have connected platforms of two heights to accommodate the two kinds of trains. And the two types of trains both use the same maintenance facility since they both use the same track gauge and same source of power (overhead catenary).

Red Line[edit]

The Red Line, a heavy-rail route, runs in both directions on fully grade-separated rights-of-way built from 1955 to 1968. It serves Cleveland's southwest suburbs, with its southwestern terminus at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Heading northeast, the Red Line serves University Circle before heading to its northeastern terminus at the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland.

Blue, Green, and Waterfront Lines[edit]

The Blue and Green light-rail lines (alternatively known as the RTA Shaker Rapid) were built from 1913 to 1936 as grade-separated lines closer to downtown and surface lines along street medians in the streetcar suburb of Shaker Heights.

The two lines part ways at Shaker Square, a historic mixed-use community in Cleveland proper, just west of the Shaker Heights border. The Blue Line veers southeast along Van Aken Boulevard until reaching its terminus near the intersection of Warrensville Center Road and Chagrin Boulevard (U.S. Route 422 and State Route 8). The Green line continues due east along Shaker Boulevard (State Route 87) until reaching its terminus at the intersection of Green Road.

The Waterfront Line, opened in 1996, extends the Blue and Green Lines from Tower City north through The Flats. It then travels northeast along the shoreline of Lake Erie, servicing the local Amtrak station and terminates in the Muni lot. The Waterfront light rail line provides access from Tower City Center to the Flats, FirstEnergy Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Burke Lakefront Airport.

Rapid Transit Bus Lines[edit]


In October 2008, RTA opened its first bus rapid-transit line. It runs along Euclid Avenue, providing a direct route between Cleveland's primary tourist attractions from Downtown Cleveland through University Circle to East Cleveland.

Originally referred to as the "Silver Line," naming rights for this RT bus line were bought by The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, and the line was renamed the HealthLine.[3]

Between Public Square and East 105th Street, the RT bus system includes dedicated bus lanes close to the inner median where light-rail stations are also located.

All RT bus stations along the route feature off-board fare collection. The RT buses include a GPS locator on board: the locator allows automated traffic signals to give the HealthLine buses priority at busy intersections.

The HealthLine runs 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Cleveland State Line[edit]

A typical station along Clifton Boulevard on The Cleveland State Line Bus Rapid Transit

In December 2014, RTA opened a second bus rapid transit to serve the western suburbs of Cleveland as well as a larger portion of downtown, including Cleveland State University. Cleveland State purchased naming rights to the route. The line carries a "55" designation, the same bus route number used by the BRT's predecessor.[4]

All passengers must pay or swipe/dip their farecards on board the bus.

Only a portion of the line along Clifton Boulevard–from the western terminus of Cleveland Memorial Shoreway to Webb Road in Lakewood– includes a dedicated bus-only lane. However, the bus-only designation only applies during rush hours: with the eastbound bus-only lane active during the morning rush, and with the westbound bus-only lane active during the evening rush.

All outbound trips originate from the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center near Cleveland State and travel through downtown to Public Square before entering the west shoreway. Shortly after reaching the Lakewood border, the line divides into three sub-routes:

  • 55: Travels down Clifton and continues to follow U.S. Route 20 to Detroit Road until reaching Wagar Road where it travels south to Lorain Rd in Fairview Park, continues to North Olmsted via Great Northern Mall before terminating near the Lorain County line. Rush hour trips travel into the North Olmsted park-n-ride.[5]
  • 55B: Travels down Clifton and continues to follow Lake Road into Bay Village where it follows Wolf, West Oviatt, and Osborn Roads west to Bradley Road before returning to Lake Road to travel east to its terminus at Wolf and Cahoon Roads.[5]
  • 55C: Travels down Clifton and continues to follow U.S. Route 20 to Detroit Road until reaching Crocker Road in Westlake where it terminates at Crocker Park.[5]

The 55 base route runs 7 days a week from early A.M. though the evening. The 55B and 55C routes run Monday through Friday during the morning and evening rush hours only. B and C also travel to the Westlake Park-n-Ride.

MetroHealth Line[edit]

On Sept. 21, 2017, RTA announced a new partnership with the MetroHealth System to rebrand the number "51" family of routes.[6] On December 3, 2017, the rebranded MetroHealth Line began service with 20 new vehicles, fully branded with the MetroHealth logo. More than 400 bus-stop signs and 37 shelters also display the new logo along the routes. This service is essentially just a branding: other than new specially designed buses, no other BRT features are present.

All outbound trips originate at Rockwell Ave & E 3rd St, travel through Public Square and then south on W 25th St/Pearl Road until reaching Pearl Road & State Road, located just south of the MetroHealth South Campus. Here the route splits into two branches:[7]

  • 51: Continues on Pearl Road, to the Parma Transit Center. With weekday daytime trips traveling via W 130th St and Tri-C Western Campus, and other trips via York Rd and W Ridgewood Drive. Buses can terminate early at the Southland Shopping Center.[8]
  • 51A: Continues onto State Road, Pleasant Valley Road, and Ridge Road before ending at Parma Transit Center. Trips between 12:00am and 5:00am operate from the West 33rd St Loop.[9]

Routes 51 and 51A run 7 days a week.

The 51A run 24 hours a day between downtown and the West 33rd Loop. Weekdays the 51 and 51A run every 30 minutes south of the Pearl/State Rd split. Weekends the 51 and 51A run every 60 minutes.


Cleveland Rapid Transit, 1913–present

The RTA Rapid Transit system consists of a total of 47 stations.[10] The stations are fully or partially within the city limits of Cleveland, Shaker Heights, East Cleveland, and Brook Park.

Tower City on the Red, Blue, Green, and Waterfront Lines
Coventry on the Green Line
West 25th on the Red Line
Lee-Van Aken on the Blue Line
Settlers Landing on the Waterfront Line
Airport on the Red Line
Belvoir on the Green Line
†* Terminus and transfer stations
Terminal stations
* Transfer stations
Closed stations
Station Rapid Transit lines BRT lines Jurisdiction Opened Rebuilt ADA access
Airport  Red  Cleveland 1968 1994 1994
Amtrak  Waterfront  Cleveland 1997
Ashby  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Attleboro  Green  Shaker Heights 1913 1980
Avalon  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Belvoir  Green  Shaker Heights 1936 1980
Brookpark  Red  Cleveland / Brook Park 1969 2017 2003
Buckeye–Woodhill*  Blue   Green  Cleveland 1920 1981, 2012
Cedar–University  Red  Cleveland 1955 2014 2002
Courtland  Green  Shaker Heights 1915 1980
Coventry  Green  Cleveland / Shaker Heights 1913 1980
Drexmore  Blue  Cleveland 1948 1981
East 9th–North Coast  Waterfront  Cleveland 1996 1996
East 55th*  Red   Blue   Green  Cleveland 1920 2011 2011
East 79th  Red  Cleveland 1955 2021 2021
East 79th*  Blue   Green  Cleveland 1920 1981
East 105th–Quincy  Red  Cleveland 1955 2005 2005
East 116th–St. Luke's*  Blue   Green  Cleveland 1920 1981, 2019 2019
Eaton  Green  Shaker Heights 1915 1980
Euclid–East 120th  Red    Cleveland 1955
Farnsleigh  Blue  Shaker Heights 1930 1981, 2019 2019
Flats East Bank  Waterfront  Cleveland 1996 1996
Green Road  Green  Shaker Heights 1936 1980, 1988 2001
Kenmore  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Lee–Shaker  Green  Shaker Heights 1913 1980, 2017 2017
Lee–Van Aken  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1981, 2015 2015
Little Italy–University Circle  Red  Cleveland 2015 2015
Lynnfield  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Onaway  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1980
Puritas–West 150th  Red  Cleveland 1968 2011 2011
Settlers Landing  Waterfront  Cleveland 1996 1996
Shaker Square*  Blue   Green  Cleveland 1920 1986 2006
South Harbor  Waterfront  Cleveland 1996 1996
South Park  Green  Shaker Heights 1913 1980
South Woodland  Blue  Cleveland / Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Southington  Blue  Shaker Heights 1920 1980
Southington  Green  Shaker Heights 1913 1981
Superior  Red  East Cleveland 1955 1996 1996
Tower City†*  Red   Blue   Green   Waterfront        Cleveland 1930 1990 1990
Tri-C–Campus District*  Red   Blue   Green  Cleveland 1930 2003, 2018 2018
Triskett  Red  Cleveland 1958 2000 2000
Warrensville–Shaker  Green  Shaker Heights 1928 1980, 2016 2016
Warrensville–Van Aken  Blue  Shaker Heights 1930 1981, 1999 1999
West 3rd  Waterfront  Cleveland 1999 1999
West 25th–Ohio City  Red    Cleveland 1955 1992 1992
West 65th–Lorain  Red  Cleveland 1955 2004 2004
West 117th–Madison  Red  Cleveland 1955 2007 2007
West Boulevard–Cudell  Red  Cleveland 1955 1999 1999
West Green  Green  Shaker Heights 1936 1980
West Park  Red  Cleveland 1958 1996 1996
Windermere†*  Red    East Cleveland 1955 1997 1997

Note: Euclid–East 120th Street station closed in 2015 and was replaced by Little Italy–University Circle station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Overview: Facts about the Greater Cleveland RTA". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  2. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2021" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 10, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  3. ^ Hollander, Sarah (2008-02-28). "Clinic, UH pay to name Euclid Corridor buses". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  4. ^ "Clifton project ready, Cleveland State Line opens" (Press release). Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. December 8, 2014. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  5. ^ a b c "55-A-B-C: Cleveland State Line". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. May 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  6. ^ "51-A-B-C: MetroHealth Line". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "MetroHealth Line 51ALL W.25" (PDF). Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  8. ^ "MetroHealth Line 51 W.25-Pearl" (PDF). Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "MetroHealth Line 51A W.25-State" (PDF). Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  10. ^ RTA system maps

External links[edit]