Gas Prices Boost RTA Ridership

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland RTA is crediting soaring gas prices for increased ridership.

According to AAA, regular unleaded is averaging $3.89 a gallon in Cleveland. With many downtown gas stations charging $3.99 a gallon, the Sunoco station at Cedar Road and Bellfield Avenue in Cleveland Heights was selling gas for $4.05 for regular unleaded.

Over the past month, gas prices increased more than 30 cents.

Rebecca Ward said, "Even if prices would just go down a dollar, that would help."

RTA Spokeswoman Mary McCahon said, "We've seen ridership increase steadily for the past 10 months, every single month. Just in February, our Red Line is the highest it's been since 1988, at a 16 percent increase in riders. We know that has to be due to gas prices."

While some analysts predict gas prices will hit $5 a gallon sometime this summer, McCahon says RTA won't be raising its prices anytime soon. "We've been doing everything we can to avoid that over the last two years, which is fuel-hedging, and we've saved nearly $7 million on our fuel prices. What we do with that money is improve service and add routes," said McCahon.

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