Press Release8/25/2023

COTA AND Columbus City Schools Announce Renewal of Unlimited Transit Access for All CCS 9-12 Grade Students

As students return to the classroom, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and Columbus City Schools (CCS) will once again offer supplemental transit access for all CCS students in grades 9-12 grade for the 2023-24 school year.

The announcement comes after a successful first year of the Educational Pass Program, which provides unlimited access to COTA’s fixed-route transit lines, COTA Mainstream for differently abled students who qualify, and COTA//Plus On-Demand service at no charge to students. Students will be able to board COTA transit vehicles by using their school-issued Student Success Cards. In all, more than 13,000 CCS students will have unlimited access to COTA services this school year.

“We are proud CCS and COTA have once again partnered to ensure high school students have an additional resource to get to class each day,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “Much of our transit lines are less than a few blocks from CCS high schools and this benefit also opens the door to opportunities outside the classroom as well. Even more importantly, this program helps students better understand how easy public transportation is to use and encourages them to consider transit as a viable option when they reach adulthood. Our growing partnership with CCS is a prime example of how critical service providers can work together to connect our younger generations to education, jobs, and prosperity.”

In the first year of the partnership, more than 3,600 Columbus City School students utilized COTA fixed-route service, accounting for more than 225,000 trips during the 2022-23 academic year. Students in South Columbus also have access to COTA//Plus On-Demand service, taking more than 2,800 trips during that academic year.

“We are delighted to sustain this valuable partnership,” said Columbus City Schools Superintendent/CEO Dr. Angela Chapman. “These passes serve as keys to choose, offering our students the freedom to embrace accessible alternative transportation for their journey to and from school, should they choose to use it, seamlessly engage in afterschool activities, and pursue work and internships, including access to a world of opportunities in their communities. It’s a win-win for our students.”

Additionally, CCS students have full access to COTA’s on-board complimentary Wi-Fi to complete homework, chat with friends online, or access our Read & Ride program with Columbus Metropolitan Libraries and can check out e-books and audiobooks while on board. COTA transit lines are also conveniently located close to nearly all Columbus Metropolitan Library locations.

COTA transit access is already available for incoming 10-12 graders using their Student Success Cards. Incoming freshmen will receive access during the first week of the fall semester. These passes are supplemental and do not replace the district’s yellow bus services provided to students who qualify for transportation to and from school.

All public-school systems and higher education institutions in COTA’s service area are eligible to participate in the Educational Pass Program, as authorized by the COTA Board of Trustees. For information on the Educational Pass Program, click here.