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STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO CUSTOMERS CONCERNED ABOUT RTA FARE INCREASES AND SERVICE REDUCTIONS

 CLEVELAND, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) today issued the following statement:
 "This past Tuesday, RTA's board established substantial trip discounts for regular riders when tickets and passes are purchased in advance. This decision was made in direct response to public comment. RTA understands that raising fares presents a financial hardship to some of our customers. That's why we listened and established these discounts for advanced purchases. We regret that any of our customers would be burdened by increased fares or reduced service, and it is our intent to continue to listen seriously to your comments.
 "There is no question the economy has taken its toll and left its mark on us all this past year. It has affected us individually, as an organization, as a city and as a nation. Just down the street we are watching as a world headquarters company lays off hundreds and a Cleveland landmark closes its doors. Dozens of other sectors of government and business are being stung, as well.
 "Clearly, RTA is not immune from the effects of one of the weakest economic periods in our history.
 "RTA is doing everything possible to operate within the realities of our budgetary limitations. These realities include weak or declining sales tax revenues, declining state and federal operating assistance and declining ridership. Even an unforeseen event such as the Persian Gulf War cost RTA $3 million more in diesel fuel in 1991. RTA is being forced to downsize accordingly. In fact, RTA has been forced to lay off some 10 percent of its work force since 1991.
 "Because of the nature of the transit business, service cuts and fare hikes are also an unfortunate part of the solution. Some have asked us why we don't lower our prices in a tough economy, as other businesses might, and hope for better sales. That's because fares cover only a small fraction of the actual cost of service. There are no profits from which we can draw when times get tough.
 "We would be doing a disservice to all the people who depend on RTA if we do not act responsibly to the current economic realities. If we do not move to respond to these realities now, they will have a deeper and longer lasting effect later. Service, quality, cost and supply could worsen for everyone if we try to operate this transit system in a manner that assumes we have the same operating dollars, ridership, population and strong economy we had a few years ago.
 "Certainly, this is not an economic trend we want to see continue. We hope for improved financial conditions in the years ahead. Regrettably, today we must operate within these financial constraints. But even within these limits, we will try to best meet the transit needs of Greater Clevelanders, now and in the future."
 -0- 1/15/93
 /CONTACT: Linda Krecic of RTA, 216-566-5211/


CO: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority ST: Ohio IN: TRN SU:

BM -- CL011 -- 5357 01/15/93 12:11 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 15, 1993
Words:504
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