Heights Circulator provides a vital link

One of RTA's newer Circulator vehicles

With hundreds of residential units, and more than 1 million square feet in commercial space, Severance Town Center is “just what the doctor ordered,” as far as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is concerned.

The #821 Circulator began service June 30, 2003, originally connecting Coventry, Little Italy, University Circle and Shaker Square. However, ridership was never strong, says Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO & General Manager.

“It was clear that the route needed a major trip generator,” Calabrese says. “We believe that Severance Town Center is the answer. As always, we continue to monitor the route to maximize the service to our riders.”

After much community input, Severance was added to the route of the #821 University Circle/Heights Area Community Circulator on Dec. 11, 2006. Service runs every 30 minutes, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The fare is $1. A round trip takes about 45 minutes

RTA began offering Circulator service in 1996 to complement big-bus service with smaller vehicles that operate in a specific community or neighborhood. The #821 usually attracts about 5,000 riders a month, but that jumped to more than 6,300 in April.

Where it goes

In Cleveland Heights, the Circulator serves:

· Severance Town Center

· Cleveland Heights City Hall

· Dave’s Supermarket

· Coventry Village.

In the City of Cleveland, the Circulator serves:

· Little Italy

· Case Western Reserve University

· Severance Hall

· Cultural museums

· University Circle Red Line Rapid Station

Many connections

The Circulator also connects to many other popular routes:

· #6 Euclid Avenue. In October, service on the #6 will become the Health Line, as service begins in the Euclid Corridor Project.

· #7X Monticello-Euclid Heights

· #8 Cedar

· #9X Mayfield

· #37 East 185 and Taylor

· #40 Lakeview-Lee

· #42 Fairmount

· #48/48A University Circle-East 131

· #66X Red Line

· The free Circle Link service operated by University Circle Inc.

The lure of Severance

Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward J. Kelley is one of many people who enjoy the service to Severance Town Center. Kelley has been an RTA Board member since 2000, and is now Vice-President of the Board.

“I like the route to Severance and Coventry. Both are unique areas in our city, and I often ride the Circulator with my kids,” he says.

“Severance Town Center is an important attraction for many people in our community, and it’s a great anchor for an RTA route. With Cleveland Heights City Hall, retail stores and recreational opportunities there, it’s a natural trip generator.”

An operator’s viewpoint

Circulator operator Quinton Hudson Sr. provides a way to work for many Severance employees. He likes the route because it is “diverse, scenic and easily accessible from the Rapid Station.” He has been driving for RTA for about 10 years.

At Severance, he says he carries a lot of customers to Wal-Mart, Baker’s Square and the International House of Pancakes. From 3-6 p.m. he carries many high school and college students.

Customers appreciate the ride

The #821 riders are a diverse group of people.

Keith Allen, 53, a retiree from East Cleveland, just likes to hop on the Circulator “to see where it goes.” It’s a scenic way to spend the day, he says.

Ralph Bemlit, 61, lives near University Circle, and rides the Circulator 2-3 times a week. Today, he is going to Wal-Mart, and then Coventry.

“The Circulator is fast and convenient, and it goes into the neighborhoods more than larger buses do. I enjoy riding it,” he says.

Nurse Annette Steen, 36, rides the Circulator to work three days a week.

“I love the convenience,” she says. “Many things I need are not far from this route.”

Ride RTA to Dave’s Market

In March 2007, Dave’s Market and RTA began a joint promotion to increase Circulator usage. Shoppers who travel to the store on a Community Circulator route and spend $15 in groceries will receive a 2-trip farecard. The promotion is good at any Dave’s Market located on a Circulator route – including the store at Severance Town Center.

For more information

· Visit rideRTA.com, where you can print a timetable, use a trip planner, and sign up to receive a bi-monthly e-mail newsletter.

· Call the RTAnswerline, 621-9500.

Jerry Masek is a member of RTA's Marketing Department.

Read More on Neighborhoods
Volume 1, Issue 4, Posted 2:50 PM, 05.27.2008