The GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY was established 30 Dec. 1974 to administer a countywide system of public transportation organized around the existing Cleveland Transit System (CTS). CTS had been formed 28 April 1942 after the city's purchase of the
Cleveland's declining population and employment, increasing automobile ownership, and inflation combined to erode CTS revenue and ridership in the 1950s and 1960s to the point where its continued operation was threatened. Dependent solely on farebox revenues for its operation, CTS raised fares and cut service, a process that accelerated the ridership decline. Between 1968 and 1974 CTS deficits steadily increased, forcing Cleveland to regionalize the system. As a result, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) was established in Dec. 1974. Its first 10-member Board of Trustees was appointed in Jan. 1975 with Richard Stoddart as president. Leonard Ronis was the system's first general manager. RTA operation, however, was contingent upon voter approval of a 1% piggyback sales tax allocated specifically to the system. Voters, lured by the promise of a $.25 local fare and improved service, approved the increase on 22 July 1975. In addition to CTS, the authority also absorbed the
In its first 10 years of operation RTA established coordination of the county's transit services, expanded routes, and created special services for the aged and handicapped. Fares continued to escalate, in combination with service cuts, reaching $1.25 for local rides in 1993, where they remained in 1995. The declining ridership begun in the 1980s continued until the 1990s when ridership escalated following the opening of Tower City (see
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Records, WRHS.