CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will be offering fare-free rides to the polls on election day for the first time ever thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation. 

Rides will be free on all buses, rails and paratransits. The Cleveland RTA now joins the growing list of transits offering free rides, including Akron, Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus. The RTA Board of Trustees formally accepted the grant Tuesday. 

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that underserved populations that have lacked access to polling locations be able to exercise their right to participate fully in democracy. We value the citizens of this region and want to help them be able to remove all barriers, including ensuring that they have access to affordable, safe, reliable transportation on Election Day,”  said RTA CEO and General Manager India Birdsong during the meeting. 

Paratransit riders are urged to schedule rides ahead of time. The RTA also encourages everyone to wear masks and try to maintain a six-foot distance from each other at the bus stops. 

The community-based organization VoterDrive also announced it will be offering free rides for early voters and those wanting to cast a ballot on election day. More details can be found here. 

More than 1.1 million Ohioans have already voted, which is 119% the rate compared to 2016, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's office. 

As of Oct. 20, 675,231 absentee ballots have been counted, which nearly half the number that were cast in 2016. 

If you have questions about voting or what will be on your ballot, check out Spectrum News 1's Voting Guide.