Dave Scott

Metro RTA will expand Cleveland service to include the Veterans Affairs hospital in Wade Park, the Terminal Tower area for gamblers headed to Horseshoe Casino and travelers to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The weekday service will begin Aug. 27 and will cost $5 each way for most riders. Tickets will be $2 for disabled riders and those 65 or older.

Metro RTA Interim Director Richard Enty said as many as 150 Summit County veterans have visited the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center each day since another veterans hospital in Brecksville closed.

After Aug. 27, a veteran would be able to pick up a bus at the James Fisher Park N Ride in Bath Township at 6:30 a.m. and be at Wade Park at 7:43. The same route would begin at the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center on Broadway in Akron at 5:55 a.m. and make stops on West Market Street at Casterton and Hawkins avenues before getting to the Park N Ride.

There will be six other departures along that route during the day. A similar schedule will bring riders back.

Stops also will include one at Prospect and Superior avenues near Cleveland’s Terminal Tower and the casino and an entry to the Greater Cleveland RTA’s Red Line train that would take riders to Hopkins Airport.

Travelers at Akron-Canton Airport would be able to take a SARTA route to the Pfaff Transit Center, transfer to the bus to the Terminal Tower, then take a train to Hopkins.

There is a VA shuttle between the Wade Park facility and the new hospital in Parma.

The Cleveland route also will stop at the Cleveland Clinic campus.

Enty said riders have been clamoring for routes to the casino since its opening.

“We just politely listened, but we didn’t think that destination was sufficient to provide additional service,” he said.

But when demand for the hospitals and the airport were taken into consideration, he found merit for an expansion.

Enty cautioned that the expansion is considered a trial and Metro will continue to study the idea for the next year. For the service to become a permanent part of the system, Metro must hold public hearings in about a year.

He said fares usually pay for about 12 percent of the cost of a route, with the rest coming from the system’s 0.25 percent sales tax and other revenue.

Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or davescott@thebeaconjournal.com.