Bikes and Trains - Cleveland's got it goin' on

RTA Red Line trains to get a welcome makeover

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- RTAwill remodel its dingy Red Line train interiors in 2013, a $2.5 million project that riders welcome.

"It's about time," says David Gray, a regular rider who thinks the trains' tan, brown and orange decor evokes "boredom."

"We could use a mood booster," says Gray, 28, of Parma.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will install new floors, seats, windows and lighting inside the Red Line cars, which run between East Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

RTA will also clear more space for bikes, wheelchairs, strollers and luggage.

RTA spent $25 million to overhaul the exteriors and mechanics of the Red Line trains during the last decade.

Now, it's time to address interiors of the 40 trains, said RTA spokeswoman Mary Shaffer.

Crews will work on two cars at a time, with each car taking about two weeks to remodel.

The Red Line interiors will take on the same blue-and-gray color scheme of cars on RTA's Blue and Green train lines.

"It's time to ... bring the whole fleet of trains into a similar look and feel," Shaffer said, calling the look "lighter and brighter."

Riders like James Robinson, 27, of Cleveland, are looking for some backside relief.
"The seats could be a little more comfortable," said Robinson.

Vinyl seats will go in favor of sturdy, cloth seats with more padding.

The redesign was based on feedback from customers and RTA's Citizens Advisory Board.

That board is still pushing for some design tweaks. Members would like to see clearly marked areas for luggage and bikes, along with a bike rack, said board member John McGovern.

The advisory board pushed for seating parallel to walls, rather than row seating, but was told the change would be too expensive, McGovern said.

The bike issue is important -- bus and train operators have hauled bikes 42,000 times this year.

"More bikes rode on RTA in 2012 than any year in the past," Shaffer said.

That's one reason four seats will be removed from each train, to clear more space, she said.

RTA will begin ordering new seats and other parts soon. RTA crews will install them.

"The whole process, from start to finish, will take about a year," Shaffer said.

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