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COTA Rolls Out New Downtown To Airport Route

COTA Air Connect bus
COTA's Air Connect bus at a stop on Nationwide Boulevard.

A new COTA express bus service starts today transporting passengers between Port Columbus and Downtown.  

The below transcript is an automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Debbie Holmes: With me to talk about COTA AirConnect, the new service from the airport to downtown Columbus is COTA spokesman Marty Stutz. Thanks so much for joining me.

Marty Stutz: You're welcome.

DH: So why does this make sense today to have this service between the airport and downtown?

MS: Well there's been an increase in activity downtown. Generally there are more conferences and conventions occurring in our convention center and other places downtown, and more in the pipeline over the next couple years.

And Experience Columbus is actively working to build the calendar of events and conferences in our downtown so we anticipate that there will be a greater demand for transit services connecting the airport and downtown.

We also have seen an increase in residents living in our downtown and in near downtown neighborhoods, and with that growth in apartments and condominiums, more people living downtown would like to have another option to get to and from the airport.

The airport is a job center and the increased employment opportunities out at the airport require us to look at how can we get people in an out or to and from that job center without having to take a crosstown service or local service that can take a long time really to travel back and forth.

DH: So it sounds like it's a mixture then of casual travelers, business people coming in and then again workers what you just mentioned. MS: Yes all of that. DH: And there's just more people now are involved in all those three areas.

MS: Right in more and more demand for the type of service that gets people to and from our airport without having to experience delays like stopping. This is an express service and so that's the difference between a local going across town and express service as we call it. It's a closed door service so once it leaves downtown, it gets on the freeway and doesn't stop again until it gets to the airport.

DH: So then that will be approximately depending on the time of day I would image but about less than a half hour i would guess.

MS: I think that most trips are going to be in the 20 to 25, sometimes 30 minute period like you said. It does depend on the time of day because sometimes it's a little more crowded out on 670 then others.

DH: Where with the buses than pick up the passengers exactly like in the downtown area will there be several stops then?

MS: So along our regular bus stops that are located on Front Street and Third Street will be bus stops for this service. So there won't be any new bus stops or any bus stops that are only for Air Connect, but all stops along that alignment, people can pick up the or connect. All of those are located within easy walking distance to area hotels downtown as well as Nationwide Arena and the convention center.

DH: They're not specially marked then as airport transit stops?

MS: They'll be specially marked. The flags or the bus stop signs will indicate that the COTA AirConnect stops there, but they're not there not only for AirConnect, the regular bus stops for our other services as well.

We have a fleet of four specially branded COTA AirConnect buses very easy to spot. They're mostly red and they say COTA AirConnect on them they're also outfitted with luggage racks on the inside.

DH: And how long then will people have to wait for the bus to arrive?

MS: They will be operating pretty frequently at 30 minute frequency so that means every 30 minutes a stop will be served by a COTA AirConnect.

DH: And the buses and will operate seven days a week?

MS: Yes. They will begin operating at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

DH: Well thanks for joining me i've been talking to COTA spokesman Marty Stutz about the new COTA AirConnect that will use COTA buses to transport passengers from the airport and downtown Columbus. Thanks so much.

MS: You're very welcome.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.