Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece.
By Anna Toth
The Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (RTA) announced today that they would be replacing lines with horse and buggy vehicles instead. Currently, all lines and routes are serviced by either rapid or regular transit busses, though there are plans to change that in the future.
The move was a carefully and hotly debated one, with many questioning the practicalities of such a drastic switch. A spokesperson from RTA answered all questions in a press conference following the announcement.
“With the financial stress that the RTA has been under, we believe that this is in our best interest financially, economically and culturally,” they said.
The spokesperson declined to give specific routes that would be affected by this change, but said that the horse and buggy replacement wouldn’t affect any route that’s heavily used or runs a great distance.
“The E-Line on Euclid which takes riders from the Cleveland State campus to Public Square is a great example of the kind of lines we’re looking to replace as far as distance goes,” the spokesperson elaborated.
This year started with service cuts to some of the most popular routes, including the Cleveland State Line, for financial reasons. By replacing certain bus routes with horse and buggy vehicles, the RTA is hoping to eliminate the need to cut any more lines in the future.
“You don’t have to pay for gas, only the rental of the horses,” the spokesperson said. “If anything, ticket prices would go down.”
The spokesperson even went so far as to hypothesize routes becoming free for anyone who brought the horse a treat, but reminded reporters that this reality was a ways off still.
“There are plenty more reasons to switch to horse and buggy,” the spokesperson said.
One of these reasons was to be more environmentally friendly. Eliminating the need for gas would decrease the pollution put out into Cleveland’s atmosphere.
“This move is a step towards the RTA going completely green, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” the spokesperson said.
Animal rights activists are up in arms about this decision, fearing the horses would be overworked pulling buggies all day on a consistent schedule.
“In a world of cars and modern technologies, you can’t have horses and buggies on busy Cleveland roads,” animal rights activist Peter Speca said. “It’s not right.”
But the RTA spokesperson insisted that the horses would be very well cared for, constantly rotated and given generous compensation.
The waste and stench left behind is a definite downside to the horse and buggy replacement plan, as the RTA spokesperson admitted in their own words. However, they had come up with a solution that should placate even the most skeptical of riders.
“The RTA Transit Police will be in charge of cleaning up and properly disposing of the horse droppings,” the spokesperson said.
Some might be worried about how this would interfere with the transit police’s ability to do actual work. The truth is that the roles of the transit authority have been greatly reduced since randomly checking Healthline passengers for bus passes was ruled unconstitutional late last year.
“If anything, cleaning up after the horses would give the RTA Transit Police a greater sense of purpose,” the spokesperson said.
While some people remain hesitant, the spokesperson insisted that this was the best option.
“Instead of using entire busses for routes only a handful of people ride, we’ll be utilizing a much more energy efficient method of transportation,” the spokesperson said.
The horse and buggy replacement plan is expected to start in late 2018.