Your new, equitable way to pay

Introducing COTA’s new equitable fare payment system! Never pay more than you should to ride COTA. This new system uses a COTA Smartcard (or the Transit mobile app), which gives you access to benefits like fare capping and simplified transfers.

Fare Capping
  • Never pay more than $4.50 per day or $62 per calendar month, regardless of whether you pay with cash, credit or debit card.

No fare capping. $2 x 4 = $8. Pays $2 cash each trip. Rides 4 times per day on average. Spends $8 total each day.With fare capping. $2 x 4 = $4.50 or less. Digitizes cash using the Transit app or a COTA Smartcard to pay $2 fare. Rides 4x per day on average. Pays no more than $4.50 total per day.

Simplified Transfers
  • COTA Transit app and Smartcard passes are valid for two hours, regardless of your direction of travel. Any transfers within a two-hour timespan are included in the cost of a single trip.

Learn more about COTA’s new equitable fare policies.

Get started with a COTA Smartcard

You do not need a smartphone to take advantage of these benefits. To get your COTA Smartcard, visit the Customer Experience Center at 33 N. High St. There, a friendly member of Team COTA will help you set up your account.

There is no initial charge for a COTA Smartcard. However, if the card is lost or stolen, there is a $3 charge to replace it.

Already have a Smartcard? 
  1. Set up your COTA account
  2. Register your Smartcard*
  3. Add funds

* Registering your Smartcard is a vital step in this process. If your Smartcard is lost or stolen, you can only recover funds from your COTA account if your card was registered. Those who lose unregistered Smartcards cannot recover the funds they loaded onto their COTA account. 


Adding Cash to Your COTA Smartcard

There are two easy ways to add funds to your COTA Smartcard:

  1. Through our digital portal with a debit or credit card
  2. At one of our up to 400 local retail location with cash

To load cash onto your COTA Smartcard at a retail location, simply ask the cashier. They will scan the barcode on your Smartcard to pull up your COTA account. Then, just hand them the cash that you want added to your COTA account and the cashier will transfer those funds for you. 

View COTA retailers: 



We’re here to help! Contact Customer Care at 614-228-1776 for assistance.