Press Release12/8/2020

COTA Will Return to Fares Beginning January 11

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) will soon reinstate fares for customers after temporarily suspending them at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fares will resume Jan. 11 on all fixed-route transit lines and COTA//Plus services, and Feb. 1 for COTA Mainstream and Mainstream-on-Demand.

Beginning Dec. 14, customers will be able to purchase new passes or have their expired passes replaced at no charge. Fares will remain the same as they have since 2012. Monthly passes are $62; daily one-way fares are $2.  Customers previously eligible for discounted fares will continue to be served through the eligibility program at COTA or through non-profit partners. Employees or students who have transit service paid for by an employer/school will resume using their previous smartphone app or employment/student I.D. card on Jan. 11.

COTA customers using passes, cash or credit will be able to purchase passes at the Customer Experience Center, located at 33 North High Street, Columbus, or one of the more than 30 retail locations in the region. More information for customers can be found at

“We took this unique, but important step to temporarily offer our transit services at no fare to the community at a time when there was no uniform guidance on how to properly protect employees and customers,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “This allowed us to have customers board from the rear of the vehicle while we took time and care to implement new state-of-the art sanitization protocol and protective equipment, and educate the community on the role they can play in wearing proper protective face coverings. We did so knowing it was the right thing to do for those who relied on us most, especially throughout the summer when we witnessed economic impacts to those who bore the brunt of COVID-19 societal impacts most. We have demonstrated for a number of months that we can effectively employ measures to successfully move people in the region with industry-leading sanitization procedures and we appreciate the commitment from our customers and employees who have adopted wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing. We are glad we were able to provide this contribution to the community.”

COTA temporarily suspended fares in March when transit vehicles began requiring rear-door boarding. Since then, COTA has put in place multiple measures to protect the health of all aboard transit vehicles.

  • Masks are required for all customers.
  • Virus-killing disinfectants and long-lasting Aegis Microbe Shield, an antimicrobial solution commonly used in the hospital and food industries, are applied to every vehicle through spraying, fogging and intense cleaning of every surface.
  • All COTA vehicles employ strong ventilation systems, ensuring fresh air is circulated inside vehicles every minute.
  • All fixed-route transit vehicles are temporarily limited to 20 customers. COTA//Plus and Mainstream Vehicles are limited to two customers (or more if a family unit).
  • Additional vehicles are being added to support social distancing on high ridership lines.

For information on COTA’s safety and sanitization protocol, click here.