Transit Taken for a Test Ride at Cleveland Auto Show

Skyrocketing Gas Prices Cause Drivers to Consider Benefits of Riding Public Transit

Mar 04, 2011, 16:11 ET from The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

CLEVELAND, March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Many new car models from Ford, Toyota, Honda and other automakers are taking a back seat to a bus at this year's Cleveland Auto Show.  The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's (RTA) 45-foot motor coach is in the spotlight as gas prices continue to rise past $3.60 a gallon.  At these price levels, commuters could save thousands by parking their cars at one of the transit authority's Park-N-Ride lots and commuting to work on the motor coach.

In addition to the motor coach, RTA will also have three interactive riding simulators on display, where car show attendees can sit in real bus seats and experience first-hand the benefits of riding vs. driving. From simple joys like doing a crossword to playing AngryBirds on your iPad, to just closing your eyes and dreaming the impossible (i.e., the Cleveland Indians winning the World Series), the RTA simulators help auto show patrons see how riding RTA could almost be more fun than driving a 2012 Porsche. Almost.

Riders who complete the simulator training are given a card for two free weekly fare passes.  It's an aggressive offer at a show filled with new car models.  But it may be the extra incentive needed to convert drivers to riders.

Americans have a special bond with their cars.  But now that pump prices surging, the love affair between car and driver is being tested – with many looking for other ways to get to work, school, or trips around town.

RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese believes that once commuters try public transportation and see how convenient and easy it is to use, they make it a regular choice for trips.  "We're not advocating that commuters do away with their cars," said Calabrese.  "But by incorporating a train or bus into our commutes, we can dramatically cut the cost, up to $9,000 a year according to motorist group AAA."

The motor coach on display at the show offers riders true comfort.  It is equipped with high-back reclining seats, tray tables, and individual passenger lighting, enabling riders to kick back and relax or get a head start on the busy day ahead.

"Our display certainly turns heads," says Calabrese.  "Now we need to turn their ideas about transit."

Contact: John McCauley, Brokaw, 216.685.4529, jmccauley@brokaw.com

SOURCE The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority