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COTA Expands Reach Of Vaccine Appointment Transportation

A COTA bus in downtown Columbus in May.
David Holm
A COTA bus in downtown Columbus in May.

COTA is expanding free transportation for Central Ohioans heading to a vaccination appointment. The agency offered ridesto people heading to the city's first mass vaccination clinic at Ohio State's St. John Arena, and they'll do that again when the arena hosts another program this week.

One addition, spokesman Jeff Pullin explains, is that the transit agency has partnered with community organizations to get COTA day passes in the hands of people with appointments all over the city.

“So you have to make an appointment first and then you can get passes through those organizations to get to any vaccination site in COTA’s service area," Pullin says.

COTA has handed out more than 10,000 passes to non-profits like Equitas, the Reeb Avenue Center and the Urban League.

"We know that these organizations work directly with people,” Pullin says. “And this is a way for them to be able to know about the services that we're providing, but to have a face to face interaction about what COTA can do for them."

Door-to-door transportation is also expanding to Westerville, South Columbus and Grove City through COTA Plus. Although the clinic needs to be within the COTA Plus service area, Pullin adds that residents in the South Columbus area can use the service for appointments at St. John Arena.

In addition, COTA is continuing to partner with the community organization Columbus Stand Up!, which has put together a team of volunteers to provide rides to vaccination appointments around the city.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.