Last year, it could take Angel Santiago an hour and a half to get to and from his home in Ohio City to his job at Wrap Tite in Solon.
That’s assuming his ride is free of common public transit challenges like long wait times for buses, long walks to and from bus stops and multi-bus connections, all of which can make the commute that much longer.
Now, Santiago, who’s 61, saves time and has a relaxing start to his day thanks to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s pilot Solon Workforce Connector program.
“They’re very reliable,” he said. “You can count on the service, you know, you don’t have to worry about freezing outside waiting for the bus. … It’s pretty good.”
RTA partnered with Columbus-based ride share provider SHARE Mobility to bring microtransit to the region in the form of 14-passenger transit vans. The Workforce Connector Program gives Solon employees the opportunity to save time on their daily commutes by scheduling rides directly to and from their workplaces.
The city of Solon has about 900 companies with 30,000 jobs, Solon Mayor Eddie Kraus said, but for those who don’t have access to a personal vehicle and those who live outside of Solon, it can be difficult to reach those jobs each day.
“If you live in the city of Cleveland, if you live East Side or West Side, [it] could take up to maybe 80 or 90 minutes just to get to work in the morning, and then 80 or 90 minutes to get home,” Kraus said. “So, that’s at least three hours of your day that you’re just on a bus.”
Riders can schedule pick-up and drop off times months in advance through a web application and specify any ADA accommodations in the app.
Riders are responsible for getting from their homes to the Southgate Transit Center in Maple Heights, and can use one of four Greater Cleveland RTA routes to get there – routes 19, 40, 41 and 90. Once they step off the bus at Southgate Transit Center, riders can board the Share Mobility van and ride directly to their workplaces.
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