CLEVELAND - All aboard!!
Just after 7 a.m., my photographer Dave Hatala and I left the Browns municipal lot in Cleveland and boarded the new Nine Twelve trolley line heading to East 9th and the Gateway District.
The RTA is expanding its service. It has started three new lines to make getting around Cleveland more convenient.
NewsChannel5 was invited to take a ride.
That ride is free to all passengers donning a smile. Dave and I definitely had those on our faces. Especially since our driver, Crystal, welcomed us on her trolley with a warm grin.
You could tell she loves her job. When she made stops, she wiped the brim of her hat to make sure it was extra shiny. She greeted everyone on board. She knew them by name.
While on the road, we made friends. One passenger, Tina Washington, was in a particularly good mood on a Monday morning.
"I love it! Yay!" said Washington. "It's free first of all and then it drops me off right in front of my job. What more can you ask for?"
RTA Spokesperson Mary Shaffer said the new service means you'll be able to ride on the weekends and at night. The C-line offers service from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends. One of the stops on that route is the Horseshoe Casino.
The L-line runs from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m on weekends. That line takes passengers from Public Square to places like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Great Lakes Science Center.
"We're trying to help alleviate the parking problem that's happening in downtown and this way we can get people free from those parking lots to their jobs," said Shaffer.
Shaffer said government funding along with local sponsors helped make the new trolley lines possible. The cost was $3.5 million dollars for a three-year period.
Passenger Jessyn Brooks said, "It's bringing business to downtown Cleveland and helping us employees get to work."
Our driver, Crystal felt the same way. She told me she's been behind the wheel of buses and trolleys for 23 years. She said she loves meeting new people.
This Monday morning Dave and I were on that list. With this new service, the RTA hopes more new faces will take advantage of a free ride and try out one of the new trolleys.