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Pay-by-Phone Now Available on COTA Buses

Brent Warren Brent Warren Pay-by-Phone Now Available on COTA BusesPhoto courtesy of COTA.
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The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) announced the roll-out of a long-awaited feature at its annual luncheon today.

Bus riders can now pay for a ride on a COTA bus using a cell phone, something that the agency has been promising for several years.

“We believe this first iteration of digital payment will draw new customers to COTA, specifically those who have held back from riding public transportation because they want the convenience of cash-free payment,” said Joanna Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO, during her remarks at the luncheon. “A recent focus group of non-customers said they were more likely to ride COTA if there was a mobile payment option.”

The app, called COTA Connector, is available from the Apple Store and Google Play. After downloading, users will need to set up an account and load money onto it from a credit card or bank account. To board the bus, individuals then use the fare box to scan a QR code created by the app.

A physical card – called the Connector Smart Card – is also available for those who don’t have a smart phone or would prefer not to pay using a mobile app. It can be loaded with funds and then used to pay the fare by tapping on the fare box. Those cards are available at COTA’s sales office, at 25 E. Rich St., or can be ordered online at COTA.com.

The Connector App has been in use for well over a year by a select group of COTA users – those who signed up for the C-Pass program for Downtown workers.

Update (10/3/19, 3:38 p.m.): A COTA spokesperson clarified that the new app does not currently include an option to buy unlimited daily, weekly or monthly passes. COTA hopes to add that functionality in the future, but for now, pass holders should continue to use their physical cards to ensure they are paying the lowest price for their rides.

Additional Reading: COTA on the Delayed Rollout of Mobile Payment

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