Car-less in Cleveland?

My RTA Chronicles

So here’s the deal.  Almost 4 months ago I began riding the RTA as my primary mode of transportation.  For me, this is not a social experiment or a blog about transportation needs in Cleveland, it’s real everyday life like it is for so many others in Greater Cleveland.

So why am I doing this? Cause I have no choice.  I gave up the car for the grind. I’m a full-time entrepreneur raising 2 teenagers and well... sometimes, ends don’t meet to be able to support an almost $400 a month car note.  I’ll admit it was a hard and very emotional decision but 60 days later it was truly the right one.

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Past experience with the RTA

Part of deciding to go carless was where I live. I live in the Eastside suburbs within a short walk to an RTA bus stop and rapid line.  As a lifelong Clevelander, I would take the busses and trains sporadically. I’d ride downtown on the Rapid for the events at the Q or Jacob’s/Progressive Field or with my class for a field trip to a movie at Tower City.  Occasionally I would take the bus to Randall Park Mall but once I started driving that was over. I have been car dependent for almost 30 years but I was always aware that the RTA was an option if I ever needed.

So why am I writing this

Just to share a set of stories but also to give a Clevelander’s experience riding our public transit.

The challenges

Commuting on RTA is great, especially during the designated rush hour time. But if you know anything about me, this blog or entrepreneurship you’ll know that the work day and work commute varies.  Somedays I’m visiting clients or attending meetings near West Park, somedays I have multiple meeting all over the city. Add in covering weekend and nighttime events and I can be waiting to try to catch a bus or train at any hour on any given day.  Also, I have kids, so relying on RTA for doctors appointments, school commutes, open houses and regular household chores like picking up groceries have been... let’s just say interesting. But you do what you have to do right?

Opting out

Like I said I made the decision to rely on RTA as my primary means of transportation.  I have used Uber and Lyft sporadically but the main point is to save money. So I’ve made a rule, which you’ll see throughout this series I’ve done a good job keeping. The rule is that I will only pay to Lyft or Uber one way, especially if I have an RTA pass.  I’ve also been able to score a few rides with friends and family but I don’t ask for many rides cause I have too many places to be.

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I hope you’ll stick around and read about my adventures on the RTA or GCRTA as it’s formally called.  You’ll read the post I’ve written about the RTA sometimes written while on a bus or rapid train, you’ll pick up some great tips for riding the RTA, find out some of my pain points and tag along for some unplanned adventures in Cleveland.

Finally, this series of post is NOT sponsored or influenced by any organization or the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Association. So far  I’ve bought each of my farecards and organized my schedule based on my individual business and personal needs. The stories are true and all opinions and choices made to get around Cleveland are my own.  

And with that it’s time to start sharing some of my stories… Check back each week for my newest story.

Have you been carless in Cleveland? Share your tips for getting around town in the comments below