Updated: COTA Restores Some Previously Cut ServiceMay 4, 2020 9:00 am Brent Warren
UPDATE (5/4/2020): One week after announcing the suspension of early morning and late night service (see article below), COTA announced on May 2 that it will be restoring early morning service to six high-frequency lines. Starting on May 5, Lines 1, 2, 8, 10, 22 and the CMAX will start running at 5 a.m. Late night service remains suspended.
Late night and early morning bus service will be temporarily suspended starting today, as the Central Ohio Transit Authority struggles to adapt to a new reality in which ridership is down by about 65 percent but many essential workers are still relying on the bus to get to work..
Bus service will now run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with schedules staying consistent seven days a week. Although bus frequency is being reduced on some lines, it will be maintained on those that are continuing to see high ridership (see cota.com for detailed information on the new schedules for each line).
A COTA press release states that the latest changes are meant to “ease the demand on front line employees while continuing to provide essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The release also encourages riders to call the Customer Care line (at 614-228-1776) with questions and feedback about the changes, saying that the information “can help improve service in the future.”
The new schedule is the latest in a series of steps the agency has taken to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including initially cutting back service in mid-March, then making all bus rides free and requiring passengers to board the bus at the side door instead of at the front. COTA also implemented a policy to cap the total number of passengers on a bus at 20 and, on April 15, started requiring passengers to wear masks.
COTA announced over the weekend that a third employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee worked as a Transportation Services Supervisor and last reported to work on April 20.
Some COTA drivers have raised safety concerns and pushed the agency to take more steps to protect their health.
The latest information on service and policy changes at COTA is available at COTA.com.