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COTA Expands Bus Service As Demand Increases Again

A COTA bus in downtown Columbus in May 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock

The Central Ohio Transit Authority expands services starting on Monday after limiting some lines and decreasing bus frequency at the beginning of the pandemic.

COTA is also expanding its service hours from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. 

"We have people in the hospital industry, we have people who are working logistics who are in warehouses," says spokesman COTA Jeff Pullin. "They are needed to go back to work early and they're needing to stay later."

Pullin says COTA is seeing an increased demand, so they're restoring their Hilliard-Rome and Brice Road lines, and increasing frequency for the 1, 2, 10 and CMAX lines to one bus every 10 minutes.

"In February, we had about 58,000 to 60,000 passenger trips a day," Pullin says. "By May, we were down to around 17,000 or 18,000 trips a day. Now we've slowly increased to 25,000. We're gradually increasing our daily service."
Pullin says the higher frequency also helps ensure passengers stay safe while riding the bus.

"In the past, we could have up to 50 passengers per bus," he says. "Now we only allow 20 passengers per bus so everyone can spread out. So we need a higher frequency of some of these more popular lines so people aren't left at bus stops."