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More Central Ohioans Took The Bus Last Year

Esther Honig

The Central Ohio Transit Authority says 2019 brought the most riders in more than 30 years.

A press release says COTA gave 19,141,454 rides in 2019. That’s up from 18,914,789 in 2018 and marks the highest ridership since 1988.

Overall ridership is up 4% since COTA’s 2017 route redesign that sought to better link downtown to the suburbs.

That strategy appears to be working, as 2019 brought especially-large growth for a rapid transit route from Westerville downtown, the AirConnect service from John Glenn International Airport to downtown, and the new C-Pass circulator route for downtown workers.

“Every day more Central Ohioans are choosing one of COTA’s various services for their mobility needs,” said COTA President and CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton in an emailed statement. “COTA continues to see growth as customers are counting on us to connect them to jobs, education, health care and vital services within the growing Central Ohio economy."

The 2019 growth also made COTA somewhat of an outlier nationwide. Out of the nation’s top 30 markets, just six saw ridership increase last year.

Last year also brought the launch of COTA Plus. The first micro-transit project in the transit authority’s history scheduled about 2,8000 trips in portions of Grove City.

COTA plans to offer the service throughout Grove City and in three additional communities this year.