Press Release3/3/2021

COTA Partners with Columbus City Schools to Provide Supplemental Transit for Students Returning to Class

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has partnered with Columbus City Schools to offer supplemental transportation for high school students as the district resumes in-classroom instruction for all students. COTA’s support is critical as CCS works to return to a blended learning model for the remainder of the school year.

Columbus City Schools purchased 8,000 transit passes for all eighth grade and high school students through COTA’s Student Discount Pass Program. Under the agreement, students will have COTA transit access through the end of the semester and throughout summer vacation.

“One of the biggest issues critical to our community is ensuring that students of the state’s largest school district can return to the classroom,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “As the region’s mobility solutions provider, COTA is committed to working with our community leaders to connect people to prosperity and that includes equitable access to education. I thank Dr. Talisa Dixon for reaching out to COTA and we are honored to help provide a pathway to opportunity for thousands of Columbus students.”

CCS students will be provided with instructions on how to access the bus using their smartphone or a school-issued card. The project is run through the Downtown C-pass program, in conjunction with The Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

“We believe that this new partnership with COTA will be a great benefit for our students and their families,” said CCS Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon. “This partnership provides so many more opportunities for our students. Using public transportation is a life skill that many have grown up using in a large metropolitan area. We want our students to learn about it and use it as a supplemental transportation service,” she added.

High school seniors will begin using COTA March 15. Each week, additional grade levels will be added until service is available to all students in grades 8 through 12. Students will be picked up and dropped off at existing transit stops. COTA is developing materials, including online videos, to help students become comfortable using COTA, and the district’s 12th grade student ambassadors will help fellow students navigate the system.