By Tom Breckenridge, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Tourists and workers alike can take advantage of free, expanded RTA shuttles downtown starting Monday, with trolley-like buses reaching new and old destinations at night and on weekends.

RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese said his agency, working with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, has raised the $720,000 needed from private sources to offer the expanded shuttle service the next three years.

The local money money was needed to leverage $2.88 million in federal transit money.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority already serves 5,000 riders a day with two free trolley lines, which stretch from West Ninth Street in the Warehouse District to East 22nd Street at Cleveland State University.

At the urging of tourism officials, RTA sought to expand the service to handle an expected influx of visitors to new venues downtown.

The new “C-Line,” focused on convention and casino visitors, will run from  7 to 11 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. It links the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and medical mart-convention center, with stops at PlayhouseSquare, East Fourth Street, the Warehouse District and seven hotels.

Learn more about the new C-line, L-line, & NineTwelve Line: