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Opinion: Transit Columbus Supports COTA System Overhaul

Josh Lapp Josh Lapp Opinion: Transit Columbus Supports COTA System OverhaulPhoto by Walker Evans.
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Transit Columbus strongly supports the transit system review (TSR) redesign process being developed by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) that will streamline and improve service. These changes will provide the best coverage for the largest amount of Central Ohioans possible. COTA has the ability to vastly improve access, reliability, frequency, and ridership by revamping the current system to become simplified and efficient; all this with no additional taxpayer funding. We acknowledge that change is hard, and there will be some growing pains as a result of these changes. However, the end result will be a vast improvement for greatest number of people possible.

The core idea of the scenario proposed by consultant team including Jarret Walker (of the blog Human Transit), is to expand the network of services that run every 15 minutes or better all day — so that more people have service that is highly useful.  The plan creates higher-frequency, better-connected service that is projected to increase ridership by 10% within two years.

Currently only three routes provide high frequency service; under the new scenario more than 10 routes will have service that runs every 15 minutes or better. The plan also proposes to extend better service to suburban job centers in places such as Rickenbacker, New Albany and Dublin, and will realign less effective service to improve ridership and connectivity to jobs, while less productive routes will be discontinued.

Transit Columbus believes this is a better way for COTA to do business. It maximizes existing resources, creates better service and generates more ridership revenue without an increase in fares or local taxes. COTA has spent the past decade listening carefully to the public and making incremental changes and adjustments to improve service.  It’s time for the central Ohio community to embrace the transformative changes COTA is considering.

We can continue to do more of the same and make small incremental changes to improve service, or we can revisit the entire system and consider a new, better way of doing things. Current projections add around 500,000 people to the region by 2050; that’s more than the populations of the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton combined. As a City we must embrace the possibilities and opportunities this creates. A new way of moving our people is one critical way must prepare for the future Columbus.

The proposed plan would be the largest modification for COTA in 40 years and will give central Ohio a solid foundation for the future. As a region we must embrace a better connected Columbus, and it starts with the TSR scenario developed by COTA and its consultant team.

Transit Columbus is a non-profit transit advocacy organization which champions an integrated public transportation system for the people of Central Ohio to improve the safety, health, environment and economic vitality of the entire Columbus region. (www.transitcolumbus.org)

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2 Responses to Opinion: Transit Columbus Supports COTA System Overhaul

  1. ehill27 June 15, 2014 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm

    +1.

    I hope they can implement this without taking multiple years to do so… at least the high-frequency lines.

  2. Shay June 18, 2014 2:42 pm at 2:42 pm

    COTA service is pretty much a joke. I take it for work 5 days a week. If I drive it takes me less than 15 minutes. If I take COTA the same trip takes 65 minutes. Yesterday the first bus was 10 minutes late, the 2nd transfer bus was 5 minutes late.

    Last year me and 6 people were waiting at my bus stop for our regular route and no bus came. After 45 minutes and no buses we were calling COTA’s help line only to get a recorded message saying the phone lines had crashed.

    When one of us finally got through to a COTA rep she told us that because of the race downtown the entire #10 west line was shut down. No notice on the news, no notice on the COTA website and no notice on the bus stops affected.

    We were told if we wanted to catch the #10 we would have to WALK two miles further west to the nearest working bus stop and take the re-routed #10 downtown. I felt sorry for myself for losing the $200+ in work that day until I spoke to a young lady waiting with me who had just started a new job when her boss told her not to bother coming back if she couldn’t be on time on her 2nd day of work.

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