CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will provide free fares for all riders on Election Day, marking a first for the transit agency.
Free rides — available all day for all modes of transit, including bus, rail and paratransit — are being sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, which provided a $75,000 grant that covers the full cost of the program. Trustees formally accepted the grant during a Tuesday meeting.
“When we talk about equity, especially as important as the Nov. 3 election is, we need to give access to individuals to be able to go vote that don’t have transportation,” India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president for program, told trustees.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that under-served populations that have lacked access to polling locations be able to exercise their right to participate fully in democracy,” RTA General Manager and CEO India Birdsong said. “We value the citizens of this region and want to help them be able to remove all barriers, including ensuring that they have access to affordable, safe, reliable transportation on Election Day.”
Columbus, Akron, Cincinnati, Toledo and Dayton transit agencies are offering free fares on Nov. 3, and transit systems across the U.S. routinely offer free Election Day fares. But this is the first time RTA has been able to do so, according to RTA spokeswoman Linda Scardilli Krecic.
All riders should wear masks while waiting at bus stops and rail stations, and while riding all RTA vehicles.
Paratransit riders are asked to schedule rides well in advance of Nov. 3.