Moving Forward8/28/2018

Top-Ranked COTA is Continuing the Momentum

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

We at the Central Ohio Transit Authority were honored this month to be named the top midsize public transportation system in North America by the American Public Transportation Association. Phenomenal support from the community, the expertise of our employees and a spirit of innovation earned us this national recognition. 

COTA’s achievements over the past three years are significant. We introduced public Wi-Fi on all our buses and in our shelters. We rolled out on-board GPS tracking to give riders real-time information about bus locations – you can try it out here. And last year, for the first time in our 40 years of operations, we redesigned our bus routes to give more residents access to jobs and reliable, safe transportation.

Riders are responding. July passenger trips were up nearly 10 percent over July 2017, and in June that increase was nearly 4 percent over the prior year – significant advances at a time when the national ridership trend is headed in the other direction.

COTA is prepared to continue this momentum. We stand ready to lead the mobility transformation in Central Ohio, advising and partnering with public and private entities to connect people with mobility services. We also will invest in workforce development by continuing skilled trade apprenticeships, tuition reimbursement and in-house training and industry certification.

As the conversation about growth in Central Ohio moves forward, please embrace our team and its decades of experience moving people. Like all the other great successes in Central Ohio, the prosperous, mobility-rich region we all envision will be built on a foundation of collaboration.

Signature of Joanna Pinkerton

Joanna M. Pinkerton
COTA President/CEO

Many thanks to the leaders of Columbus’ top-ranked organizations, who in this video congratulate COTA on winning the Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. We are proud to be your partner!


Columbus minority transportation group is tops nationally

The Central Ohio Transit Authority commends the Columbus chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, which was named Outstanding Chapter of the Year by COMTO national. The Chapter of the Year award honors outstanding service, activities and enhancement of COMTO’s image. In 2017, the 87-member COMTO Columbus chapter raised nearly $30,000 for minority students interested in careers in transportation. Chapter members come from COTA, Ohio Department of Transportation, Columbus Regional Airport Authority, the city of Columbus, Franklin County and various small businesses. COTA Deputy CEO Emille Williams is a past national board member and COTA Contracts/DBE Program Administrator Quincy Howard is national membership chairman.

COTA in the Community

Tasha Booker
Executive director, City Year Columbus
Mission: To build democracy through citizen service, civic leadership and social entrepreneurship.

What does COTA bus access mean to City Year employees? City Year’s goal is to help students stay in school and on track toward graduation, ready for college or a career of the future. We could not do this work without committed young professionals who serve a year or two with us through AmeriCorps. Many of our Corps members and staff moved to Columbus for college or are local and have ridden COTA their entire lives. COTA bus access means our AmeriCorps members and staff who are not from Columbus, or who choose not to drive, can get back and forth to service in our schools every day. It is important to us that City Year is accessible to all who want to serve, regardless of their access to a vehicle, so that means City Year has to be centrally located and near public transportation. We are honored that COTA has been a City Year partner since its founding 25 years ago.

How does riding COTA further your organization’s mission? City Year works to keep students in school every day to improve their academics, behavior and attendance. COTA transportation ensures that students who can’t or don’t ride the school bus can get to school on time every day ready to learn. We know that some of our students have additional responsibilities like helping with siblings or working part-time jobs and internships, so having access to a COTA bus that runs throughout the day is important for school attendance. COTA also provides additional transportation capacity to our students and families beyond the school day. COTA provides the transportation parents and caregivers need to be engaged in their student’s academic career, which we know is important for overall student achievement.

Do you have a bus story to share? I rode COTA as a child with my parents, who for many years didn’t own a car. When I was older, COTA got me back and forth to my first internship and job that put me on my current career trajectory. My family and I often use COTA to attend Ohio State University football games and to events in the community.

COTA in the News

New COTA CEO steers agency to the future

Columbus bus network redesign boosted ridership

COTA wins highest operations award for midsize North American transit systems

Smart Columbus, COTA seek app to plan/pay for trips by bus, car, ride-share or all of the above