The bus option to commute from Akron to Cleveland is getting an upgrade.
Starting today, one of Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority's two North Coast Express routes will serve new destinations and have expanded hours.
"The service that runs from the west side of Akron to Cleveland is going to have stops now at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Clinic and the Wade Park VA hospital," Metro spokesperson Molly Becker tells AkronNewsNow, "because that's been a huge request of ours, the Wade Park facility."
Metro's local route 101 has served the VA hospital in Brecksville, which recently closed. Becker says that route will continue to make connections with Greater Cleveland RTA's 77F Brecksville route near the former VA hospital location.
The x61 bus, which serves the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center, the West Market Street corridor and the Fisher Park and Ride on Ghent Road, will also have midday service for the first time. The other North Coast Express bus, the x60 to Cuyahoga Falls, will remain on its current schedule on its current route. Both run weekdays only.
The fare remains $5 each way.
Becker says the additional North Coast Express service starting today is on a one year trial.
But the popularity of the overall North Coast Express service is not in question.
"It's one of our most popular (routes), especially with the economy, with gas prices, with parking prices," Becker says, "and we see anywhere from a 13 to a 17 percent increase on that service almost every single month compared to last year."
Becker says those wanting to visit downtown Cleveland's Horseshoe Casino and other attractions will likely use the expanded service.