Cleveland St. buys naming rights for new RTA bus line

Posted on October 10, 2014

Cleveland State University has secured naming rights for a new Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus-rapid transit (BRT) line connecting CSU to West Shore communities. Service is slated to begin in November, RTA and CSU announced today.

The new route will offer commuters an upgraded ride on new, specially-designed vehicles fully branded for CSU. Stations connect commuters traveling from the downtown campus through Cleveland’s West Side along Clifton Boulevard and with branch routes connecting multiple West Shore communities.

The Cleveland State Line will provide these students and all passengers a faster and more reliable commute. The line will replace RTA’s Route 55 family of services with specially designed, 60-foot articulated buses and increased travel speeds. This will double the line’s ridership capacity. During rush hour, riders will wait no more than 10 minutes for a bus at any stop on the line.

The Cleveland State Line incorporates many of the convenience features of RTA’s first bus-rapid transit service, the HealthLine, which travels along Euclid Avenue from Public Square to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland, including consolidated stops, a dedicated transit lane, an enhanced streetscape and a new traffic signal system.

CSU President Ronald Berkman and RTA's Joe Calabrese (right).
CSU President Ronald Berkman and RTA's Joe Calabrese (right).
"We are excited to be part of this new transportation route to the West Side,” said CSU President Ronald Berkman. “More than 14,000 CSU students receive the U-Pass each semester, and collectively they’ve already taken a half million trips this year. A significant number of them commute from west of downtown Cleveland. This new transportation option will provide a fast, comfortable and convenient way to get to campus, while serving the larger transportation needs of West Shore commuters.”

The Cleveland State Line will serve customers along Clifton Boulevard with 19 new stations, and will also feature special CSU-branded stops in Bay Village, Westlake, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Lakewood and Cleveland.

The contract calls for CSU sponsorship of a total vehicle graphic package on 16 custom-designed buses to be used on all trips. The CSU logo is woven in the fabric for the approximate 950 seat backs on all vehicles, and CSU identification will be prominently displayed at the 32 new bus stations or stops on Clifton Boulevard. CSU branding will be featured at 243 stops and shelters along the route and in related materials.

“RTA and CSU have collaborated for years and continue to expand on an ideal partnership,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese. “Starting with the U-Pass program for CSU students and extending to the trolley network, sponsorship of two HealthLine stations, the completion of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center and a lease with Megabus, this collaboration showcases how public entities can work together to benefit students and the Greater Cleveland community.”

Since 2008, RTA has initiated several other public-private partnerships with Cleveland organizations to sponsor new or enhanced services, including the HealthLine and the free Downtown Trolleys. “Now that CSU has secured the naming rights, we are advancing the revitalization of Cleveland’s transit landscape into suburban communities. Through these partnerships, together we are investing in the future of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio,” Calabrese said.

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