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Downtown Bus Ridership Has Doubled Over Past Year

Walker Evans Walker Evans Downtown Bus Ridership Has Doubled Over Past YearPhoto via Capital Crossroads SID.
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Thanks to a unique program that offers free bus passes to most Downtown workers, transit ridership for the Downtown area has more than doubled year-over-year since the program went into effect.

The C-pass program is a collaborative effort between the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (SID), Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) that offers unlimited complimentary bus rides to employees of eligible business located within the SID’s boundaries. The free bus access is made possible through underwriting from property owners within the SID’s boundaries and COTA.

Prior to the program’s launch on June 1, 2018, only 5% of Downtown workers made their commute by bus. As of June 2019, that number has jumped to the 10-14% range.

“That mode shift is the range we hoped we’d reach so it’s great to have that confirmed,” stated Cleve Ricksecker, Executive Director of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District. “There was really no example of another city doing something like this, so the Downtown property owners really took a risk, and we’re glad that they’re being rewarded for taking that risk.”

While workers have praised the program for being a personal cost saving, (Downtown parking rates currently range from $50 to $250 per month depending on location) many business owners have cited direct benefits as well.

“Seventeen employers who took our survey stated that C-pass played a role in their decision to sign or renew a lease,” stated Ricksecker. “Typically it takes a long time to see a market response to a program like this. It’s also hard to isolate a lease decision to one issue, because there’s always a bundle of amenities, but we’re really happy that C-pass is now one of those factors.”

As of August 12, the SID reports that 430 companies are enrolled in the program with 14,800 employees registered for C-pass access. With over 85,000 workers in the Downtown area, there is still room for growth of the program, but interest outside of the SID is growing as well.

“We’ve heard from property owners to the north, east and west who want in because they feel that they’re at a competitive disadvantage by not being in the program,” explained Ricksecker. “We have the ability to change the boundary to add properties as long as they are contiguous to the current SID.”

For more info, visit https://morpc.gohio.com/regional-programs/downtown-cpass/.

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