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COTA Riders Adjust To Redesigned Commutes, With Some Frustration

COTA bus on Ohio State's campus.
Wikipedia Commons

After more than four years of work, COTA finally launched its redesigned bus system on Monday with new, simplified routes, different bus numbers, and a reduction of lines. Among morning commuters, it'll take some getting used to.

Rachel Rensin, who says she rides her route everyday to work, said she's loving the changes. 

"So far so good," Rensin says. "This is a easy pretty easy route for me, it goes all the way to Olentangy River Road where I work at Riverside Hospital."

But some frustration was inevitable: Bus numbers that had been the same for 40 years were suddenly different. Andrew Jordan, the president of the local transit workers union, was outside the Statehouse since 5 a.m. on Monday morning helping commuters find the right bus.

"We've had some people who were completely lost this morning, turned around," Jordan says. "The time tables have changed a little bit as well, but we were able to assist them getting on the coaches and getting them on the right bus and to work on time."

Jordan actually said that they had to call the employers of a few riders to say it wasn't their fault they were late that morning.

Rick Philips has been riding COTA everyday to work for the last five years, and wasn't very happy to find he had to take two buses instead of one.

"Just frustrating that I don't even know why they even changed it," Philips says. "I don't think nothing's going to change about it. It's all going to be the same garbage as it was before."

One positive aspect for Philips: More buses running those routes more frequently. 

In total, though, COTA cut the number of routes throughout the area from 68 to 40. Officials said only a few were done away with entirely, because not enough people rode them. Many more routes were consolidated.

By simplifying many of COTA's routes, though, the city raised concerns among some passengers about access. 

"Well, there's been some concerns among senior citizens that the new route design has not afforded them the accessibility they've been used to," Jordan says. "There's great concern for the elderly and the handicap. They have to walk a little further, or wheelchair a little further."