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 the Transit app or a COTA Smartcard to connect to your COTA account, giving you access to benefits like:
- Never pay more than $4.50 per day or $62 per calendar month, regardless of whether you pay with cash, credit or debit card.
- 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.
Get started with the Transit app
The easiest way to start taking advantage of these benefits is to download the Transit app and set up your COTA account. For those who do not have access to a smartphone, you can still get all of these wonderful benefits by paying your fares with a COTA Smartcard.
Plus, all new COTA accounts created in the Transit app by January 31st of 2022 will receive a complimentary account credit of $4.50. Once you follow the steps below to set up your COTA account, please allow two business days for the $4.50 credit to appear in your Transit app account.
Go to the App Store or Google Play Store on your smartphone and search “transit.” Download the application with the green icon shown below.
Allow the Transit app to access your location. This unlocks important features, like real-time notifications, alerts when on the vehicle and the ability to search nearby routes.
Set your location sharing preference. We recommend that you “Allow Sharing While Using App.”
Welcome to the Transit home screen. Click “Buy” at the bottom of the screen.
Click “Pay with your mobile phone.”
Enter your email address to begin setting up your COTA account.
Type your first and last name.
A notice will appear to confirm that COTA was added to your Transit account. Press “OK.”
If you want to add funds to your account directly from the mobile app, then select “Add funds with card” and input your payment information, then move on to Step 11. If you prefer to load cash onto your COTA account at one of up to 400 local retailers, tap the X in the upper righthand corner and move on to Step 13.
Select the amount of money that you would like added to your account.
Confirm your purchase amount and select “Proceed to payment.” Then, select “Place order.”
To add cash to your account, visit one of up to 400 local retailers and select “VIDAPAY or VanillaDirect.” Your cashier can help you choose the right provider. Then, they’ll look up your account ID or scan your QR code/barcode to add your funds.
If you are ready to ride COTA, select “Ride now.” Then, scan the barcode on the validator and wait for the green light to indicate that your fare was accepted.
When the light on the validator turns green, you’re ready to ride — it’s as easy as tap, tap, go!
Transit app questions?
Need help? Click on the settings gear in the top left corner to open this
Click third option
Click on the third menu option with the Transit icon to access help options and to like or follow COTA’s social media channels.
Check the help section
Click the “Help” section for answers to frequently asked questions. Can’t find what you’re looking for?
Clicking on “Call COTA” will open a direct line.
No Smartphone? No problem!
You can get the same benefits without a smartphone through a COTA Smartcard. 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.
Already have a Smartcard?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is fare capping? How does it affect me?
Why is COTA transitioning to fare capping?
Transit App & Smartcard
What is the Transit app?
What information will be required to sign up for the new system?
What if I lose my phone or Smartcard?
Do I need a phone or Smartcard for each of my children to ride?
Ticket & Purchasing Options
Is COTA going cashless? What are the plans to go cashless?
When will COTA stop issuing cash transfers and Day Passes on the vehicle?
Will I be able to use my current retail location to load cash to my new account?
Our retail locations are being updated and there is a chance your local Kroger or Giant Eagle may not be included. There is a map in the Transit app and on COTA.com that shows all participating retail locations you can visit to load cash onto your account. We are adding up to 400 retail locations to our network.
What happens to unused paper tickets or passes? How long will they still be accepted?
What will happen to any unused balance on my account at the end of the month?
What happens if I don’t have enough money in my account to ride?
How will this affect customers with the Connector card/app?
How will this affect customers with C-pass/BuckID/etc.?
How will this impact COTA//Plus or Mainstream?
Will I be able to pay COTA//Plus or Mainstream fare with the new system?