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C-Pass Users Helping to Boost COTA Ridership

Brent Warren Brent Warren C-Pass Users Helping to Boost COTA RidershipPhoto by Lauren Sega.
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Downtown workers who have signed up for free bus passes through the C-Pass program have taken about 460,000 rides since the program launched in June. Those employees have had an impact on overall ridership, particularly as measured by how many people are traveling in and out of Downtown at rush hour.

Numbers provided by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (SID) show a 17 percent increase in rush hour boardings from June 1 to the end of November.

The momentum appears to be building. In November, COTA recorded 9,242 rush hour boardings, a 26 percent increase over November of 2017.

The total number of companies enrolled in C-Pass has grown from 230 to 378, or about 45 percent of those eligible. That number includes large employers like Huntington and Nationwide, as well as many smaller companies that are located within the boundaries of the SID, like restaurants, coffee shops, and individual hotels.

Although some significant employers have yet to sign on, including the State of Ohio and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, the program has gained visibility in its first six months, leading to more and more inquiries from interested companies, according to representatives of COTA and Capital Crossroads.

Both Franklin County and the City of Columbus have participated in C-Pass from the beginning.

Overall, more than 13,500 employees are registered for the program, with C-Pass users accounting for more than 22,000 COTA rides per week.

In a recent interview with Columbus Underground, COTA CEO Joanna Pinkerton touted the success of the program and the impact it’s already had on ridership.

“We have employers coming to us in droves saying, ‘How do we get in?'” she said, adding that an expansion of the program, either within Downtown or to other neighborhoods or commercial districts, will be a topic of discussion for COTA “in the very near term.”

For more information about the program, visit www.downtowncpass.com.

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