It's not a subway, but it's the same thing. The Rapid Transit provide easy access from Cleveland Hopkins Airport to downtown and points east. You can stay out on the eastside or westside of town and get transportation downtown without the hassle of driving. There are limits as there are only a few lines (1 referred to as the Rapid by locals) and you'll need to use busses or taxi's if you're going far from the stop. Officially, there are:
The Rapid (westside Airport, downtown, University Circle, eastside)
Shaker Rapid (Shaker Heights to downtown)
Waterfront line (terminal, through the flats to lakefront attractions)
Most stations are clean, safe and the trains comfortable and pleasant. The transit board provide security at many stops and information is available for the asking.
Everything is in walking distance in downtown Cleveland. But, if there is a cold wind off the lake or the temp is near 90 and the humidity is higher, walking can become unpleasant. Well, there is a way to improve the trip. Use the Waterfront line. It runs from the Terminal Tower on Public Square, through the Flats to the Lakefront Stadium, the Science Museum, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Wm G. Mather, USS Cod and Burke Lakefront Airport.
Park in one of the parking garages on the lakefront and walk into town, seeing the sites, and ride back or reverse the route. Either way, you'll see more and be more relaxed at the end of the day. Better yet take the Rapid Transit or the Shaker Rapid from the west or the east suburbs and use the Waterfront Line to get around downtown.
Hope to see you on the train. See the map in the picture section.
Strange name, but the GCRTA is going for the trolley theme with two new bus lines specifically for ciculating through downtown. They are:
61 E-Line Trolley: Goes through areas of downtown most associated with entertainment.
62 B-Line Trolley: Goes through areas of town more associated with business and civics.
These buses are cleaner and smaller than most, and have a vintaged/antique appearance inside and out. They run every ten minutes from 7am to 7pm, with weekday service only! Look for the short, green buses, and the green or red stop signs around town.
They are free until Labor Da 2006! I'm unable to locate info about how much a trip will cost after Labor Day. Nonetheless, this service is overdue for downtown, and it's a much better bus service to get around. :)
If you're flying in to Cleveland Hopkins Int'l airport, and your destination is downtown, the best way there is to take the RTA Red Line(if no car), Eastbound, to Public Square/Tower City Center stop. It'll take you roughly 20-25 minutes to get there, and once you exit the Tower City building (Terminal Tower), you'll be able to find taxis right out front, on the Sqaure, if they're needed. Be sure to read my warning tip about the taxis, too.
To reach some cultural and tourist type areas of Cleveland, the RTA Rail Lines are a great way to get there.
The popular access points: Ohio City/W.25th (& WestSide Market; popular place!)., Downtown, University Circle (see my must see activity tips) , North Coast Harbor (E9th St.) and Shaker Square. You get out at all other East side stops (besides UC) at your own risk; they're not eh greatest neighborhoods.
University Cirlce is mostly safe, although bundled between bad neighborhoods, so some questionable people tend to hang around. I don't recommend being out and about by the darkly lit places at night; be somewhere where there is light. Shaker Square is only getting worse (dangerous) and the actual Square is becoming slightly worn and less attractive, so, it not as 'off the beatn path sight-seer' friendly. Plans are in the works to reinvigorate it (it used to be adorable during Xmas time) but there's still some charm there as well as some retailers.
The fare I believe is now $1.75 one way, for each separate ride, (no connection tickets) and $3 for an All Day Pass, which allows you endless connections all day and evening until 3am from time of purchase. There are family/group fares a well. Bicycles are permitted on the cars only during non-rush hour times (see site for times). There was recently a mjaor change in the fare structure, and I'm still trying to figure it out, since their website is a bit vague. Calling them for clarification would be a good idea.
The RTA or the Rapid (is the name for the mass transit system) was a bit rickety but was very easy to use. They offer a all day pass for $3 - very worth it if your going to be getting around the city. One word of caution you MUST have exact change in order to get the card needed to ride the Rapid, even though you purchase the cards from a machine supervised by a person. No change is given. Bring $1 bills.
If you are going to visiting some of the more popular sights in downtown and along the North Coast (lakefront area), the Waterfront rail line is an option. It's not much useful if you're planning on seeing sights away from the Cuyahoga & Lakefront, though. ;) It can be caught at The Avenue (Tower City Center) and continues to the Muni Lot at the immediate East of E 9th St. It's a short line and takes you to the Flats, the Amtrak depot (upon request), North Coast/E 9th St and the Muni Parking Lot, of course. It'll cost you $1.50 each way, so, the best option might be an All Day Pass for $3. If you're not sure how many times you'll use the rail, I'd buy the pass anyway; it'd save you from paying $1.50 over and over again. It'll also be usable until 3am from the time of purchase.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is very close to downtown Cleveland. You can get directly to the center of downtown via the "rapid" (train) from the airport in about 20 minutes. It only costs a couple of bucks and the downtown hotels are within walking distance of the terminal.
If you are flying in and renting a car, navigation is simple!
Getting around Cleveland is to easy. There are Rapids (trains) that run directly into downtown Cleveland, Gund Arena, Jacobs Field, and Browns Stadium. The price for the train and express buses is 1.50, local buses are 1.00. IS this ecomonical or what? The train also runs directly into the airport. What does this mean for travelers? You don't spend much time if any, in the weather.
Getting to Cleveland is easy. Cleveland Hopkins airport is a hub for continental airlines and traffic through the airport is relativly easy to navigate. If you are not renting a car you can take the Rapid Transit (Cleveland version of a subway or metro) Red Line into the downtown area. Taxi's, as in all ariports are also easy to get.
Geting around the Cleveland metro area without a car is dificult. The bus system can be hard to navigate even if you are from the area and many of the places wich you would change buses seem to be in the not so good neighborhoods. The Rapid system is pretty good depending on where you are trying to get to, but is limited. They opened up a leg into the flats (a bar district) but it stops running two hours before thebars close.....hmmm best to rely on a taxi here.
Fly into the airport then take the Rapid to downtown.
Supprisingly enough, Cleveland has a good public transporatation system. The busses go everywhere, and the Rapid trains are inexpensive and the best way to reach downtown and Shaker Square.
I saw buses that had the Zoo pictures on them. I guess they pick people up from the hotels etc.....Parking was free.