COTA Receives National Award, Ridership Up on Redesigned Network
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) was recognized today at its annual luncheon with the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
The award is handed out to three transit agencies each year; COTA won for systems offering between 4 million and 20 million rides a year (COTA had 18.7 million passenger trips in 2017).
“This national recognition validates our message – we are committed to innovation and accelerating solutions to support Central Ohio,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna Pinkerton in a statement. “I am so proud of the entire COTA team for being leaders in the industry, and especially for bringing forward best-in-class technology and building collaborations to better serve our community.”
APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas highlighted a number of accomplishments that led to the group’s decision to honor COTA, including enhanced safety measures, the roll-out of free WiFi access on all buses, and last year’s redesign of bus network.
The new network increased the number of routes with frequent service and expanded night and weekend service. It also took some routes off of High Street Downtown and straightened or otherwise changed many routes, meaning major adjustments for many of the system’s most regular riders.
Numbers from the National Transit Database, though, show that overall ridership has increased since the launch of the redesigned network last May.
Compared to May of last year, ridership in May of 2017 was up 1.7%, while June ridership year over year increased 3.6%. That increase comes as many transit agencies across the country are reporting falling ridership.
The number of people riding COTA could increase more this fall, when two major employers – Huntington National Bank and Nationwide – are scheduled to officially sign on to C-Pass, the free downtown bus pass program that launched in June.