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The Trolley is back!! I got this email from a friend. How fun - I plan to check it out, as the weather gets nicer. (Oh, how I love Cleveland in the spring. And summer. And fall. Just not that blasted f'ing winter.)

March 29, 2006
Ding, Ding, Ding
Downtown trolleys are back
CLEVELAND - After a nearly 60-year absence, trolleys will roll once again on downtown streets, offering a way to experience Cleveland's past and future at the same time.

Beginning April 10, office workers and tourists will be able to hop on one of two trolley lines developed by RTA to replace Loop bus service.

· The E-Line trolley will link entertainment venues, from the Warehouse District at West Ninth Street, down Euclid Avenue past Playhouse Square to East 21st Street.

· The B-Line trolley will connect business, circling Superior and Lakeside Avenues between West Sixth and East 12th Streets.

Both lines will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with 10-minute frequency.
If the nostalgic green-and- gold vehicles, complete with cow catchers, wooden rails, and brass bells, don't put a smile on the face of downtown travelers, the price of riding will. The trolleys are free now through Labor Day for -- a smile. This was accomplished through a partnership between RTA and the Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau. RTA is studying the feasibility of maintaining the appealing "smile" fare indefinitely.

Characters from the past will help reintroduce trolleys to Clevelanders. Radio commercials feature the voice of a 20's vaudeville promoter, describing the trolleys as the "Cat's Pajamas." Trolley jingles accompany the spots, sung by a chorus line of bathing beauties.

And on the Indians home opener April 7, nearly 100 newsboys with capy hats and cotton news bags will descend on downtown, spreading the word in building lobbies, street corners, and at the Jake, "the trolleys are back."

The newsboys will be made up of child actors from Great Lakes Theatre and City Year corps members.

Combining fun with functionality was the impetus for the downtown trolley lines. RTA worked with Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance to develop the concept. Public meetings were also held to understand the changing transportation needs of office workers, college students, and a growing downtown group of residents.

"We hope the trolleys will cause office workers to break away for lunch to meet friends on the other side of downtown," said RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese. "By making the trip free and creating a 10-minute frequency, we removed any barriers for hopping on and exploring. The "smile" fare should come naturally, but it also says, 'let's enjoy our downtown again.'"

Along with canvassing office workers and residents with flyers and advertisements, RTA is working with the hotel concierges to communicate the benefits of the new trolley lines to out-of-town guests. Operators with a gift for gab and knowledge of Cleveland's history were also selected to drive the trolleys - serving as ambassadors for the city. They will dress in vintage uniforms, with motorman hats and vests.

Dennis Roche, President of the Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau, sees the trolleys as a great way for people to experience all that downtown has to offer.

"Great restaurants, unique music and comedy venues, and outdoor reading gardens - places that, along with well-known attractions like Playhouse Square and the Avenue at Tower City, are now just minutes away with the trolleys," said Roche.

About RTA
RTA is the nation's 13th-largest public-transit system, serving more than 45 percent of all public-transit riders in Ohio. Its 2,644 employees operate 108 rail cars on 34 miles of track and 654 buses on 89 routes. In 2005, more than 57 million passengers rode RTA's trains, buses, Community Circulators and Paratransit vehicles.

Jerry Masek, Media Relations Manager
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
216-566-5211, office


  • At 10:01 AM, Blogger Ontario Emperor said…

    When I visited Dallas last summer, I took their regular train line out a few stops so I could catch a trolley for dinner and NTN trivia. Couldn't play trivia that long though, since the last trolley ran at about 9:30. Which leads me to wonder - I don't know Cleveland's downtown, but isn't a 7:00pm ending time a little early?

  • At 10:02 AM, Anonymous JasonB said…

    That is so incredibly cool. I wish Indy woudl do somethign similar to replace it's free downtown circulator bus (the "blue line). making it a trolley would add so much character to downtown.

    I'm jealous! I'll have to definitely visit cleveland now to see the trolleys.

  • At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How on earth does closing at 7:00 make sense for Playhouse Square? It's a great idea, but the "E-line" seems fairly useless with those hours of operation.


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