Posts Tagged ‘Central Ohio Transit Authority’

COTA Land $750,000 Federal Grant

August 24, 2022

Columbus-based Central Ohio Transit Authority has won a $750,000 Regional Infrastructure Accelerators grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It will use the money for its LinkUS Mobility Initiative for the development of high-capacity transit corridors; investments in smart mobility options such as first/mile last mile service; and enhanced bus service with increased frequency, USDOT reported.

The grant was one of five awards totaling $4.8 million awarded under the RIA program.

In a news release, USDOT said the program seeks to help accelerate transportation project delivery through project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work.

This is the second round of the RIA program awards with the first five having been announced in September 2021.

In that round of funding, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency in Cleveland received $295,000 for an intermodal facility; airport access improvement; road improvement to a healthcare facility; and a pedestrian connection.

FTA Awards Pandemic Relief Grants

January 20, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration has released $15.8 million to 37 transit projects through its new Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program.

The program, which began last October, was created following transit agency requests that FTA support research addressing COVID-19-related operational challenges.

FTA officials said in a news release the 37 project grants will implement new cleaning and disinfecting protocols; contactless payment systems; data collection and reporting on ridership, vehicle capacity and other factors; and other solutions to improve agency decision-making and transparency and to increase rider confidence.

Among the recipients is the Central Ohio Transit Authority of Columbus, which will receive $600,000 to develop a comprehensive data model, including incorporating cell phone data to understand travel patterns, to drive decision-making based on travel changes pre- and post-COVID-19.

The analysis will help improve operational efficiencies and demonstrate how communities with multimodal transit networks can provide more efficient and reliable service with data-driven decision-making, especially during and after emergencies.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in partnership with Drexel University, will receive $584,618 to evaluate air ventilation and surface cleaning in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

The project seeks to improve passenger safety and strengthen public confidence to return to mass transit during the pandemic of the Philadelphia-based agency.

South Bend Public Transportation Corporation in Indiana will receive $122,638 to implement a new, contactless payment option for riders, streamlining the boarding process and operational efficiency of each route and reducing contact between operators, riders and fare boxes, improving safety during the pandemic.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will receive $450,000 for automated wheelchair securement systems on buses at five transit agencies in rural and urban service environments throughout the state.

MDOT also will deploy a smart phone app that integrates dispatching, scheduling and fare payment to lessen exposure to the COVID-19 virus and improve efficiency.

Columbus Public Transit Ridership Rose in 2019

February 22, 2020

Ridership of public transportation provided by the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus posted a 1.2 percent increase to more than 19 million last year.

It was the highest ridership numbers recorded by COTA since 1988.

Ridership began growing after COTA revamped its bus network in 2017. A year later the agency launched the CMAX Line and the C-Pass program that provides free bus passes to some downtown workers.

COTA also launched a pay by phone option last fall.

In a news release, COTA said it was one of just six transit agencies serving the top 30 markets to see ridership growth in 2018.

The agency’s board of trustees recently approved increasing the frequency of service on several popular routes.

The board also approved a plan to built 150 additional bus stop shelters over the next few years.

Cleveland RTA Ridership Fell by 4M in 2017

April 20, 2018

Total ridership of Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority buses and trains reached a record low 39.6 million last year, a decline of more than 4 million riders from 2016 when it carried 43.8 million.

The 9.5 percent drop in ridership was the largest single-year falloff since 2010.

RTA officials said the falling ridership was a result in part of a fare increase and route cuts imposed last August.

It was the second consecutive year that RTA saw record low ridership and the third straight year of ridership declines.

RTA’s record ridership was 125.9 million in 1979. In 2016, some 43.8 million riders took RTA trains and buses.

Fear of further falling ridership was behind an RTA decision earlier this year to delay a planned fare increase for late summer.

Officials said that transit ridership is affected by various factors, including the service offered, the concentration of jobs downtown at the core of the system, increasing numbers of people working at home, traffic delays, gasoline prices, parking rates, employment and public funding.

Last month RTA cut service frequencies on 15 bus and rail routes.

Stephen Bitto, executive director of marketing and communications for RTA, said the agency is seeking to boost ridership by working with employers and college students.

About 50,000 college students receive fare cards as part of their fees at Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyhoaga Community College and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Cleveland RTA is Ohio’s largest transit agency, carrying more than double the number of riders than the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus area. COTA ridership was 18.7 million last year.

Group Pushing for Rail in Columbus

July 25, 2016

A Columbus public transportation advocacy group is pushing for the development of light trail after the city won a Smart City Challenge, which will steer a $50 million federal grant to Ohio’s capital city as part of a transportation makeover.

OhioTransit Columbus posted an online petition that calls on city and Central Ohio Transit Authority to consider light rail, bus rapid transit or streetcars.

The advocacy group cautioned city officials not to rely too much on driverless cars and other technologies that were proposed in the Smart City Challenge application.

Transit Columbus said it favors a wide range of transportation options, including rail.

That bid described Columbus as a test bed for midsize cities that don’t have light rail systems or other popular mass-transit options for moving residents.

Columbus said that landing the smart city grant could enable it to “leap frog” over rail.

“If we expect to have a really prosperous city, we can’t be a city that doesn’t invest in itself, especially in transit, because it’s going to enable us to compete better with other cities in the country,” said Josh Lapp, vice chairman of Transit Columbus, in an interview with Columbus Business First.

Lapp cited Portland, Oregon, and Denver as examples of what transit should look like in Columbus, which currently has only COTA buses as its public transportation offerings.

Public transportation advocates have argued that Columbus is the nation’s largest city without a rail commuter system.

COTA is in the midst of creating its NextGen plan, which will examine the city’s long-term transportation needs through 2050. The plan is expected to be released next year.

A COTA spokesperson said the NextGen plan will “consider any number of different technologies and alternatives.”

Ohio Transit Agencies Embrace ‘Smart’ Technology for Fare Payment on Buses,Trains

May 30, 2016

Some Ohio transit agencies are beginning to embrace smart card smart phone apps to allow passengers to pay their fare.

The move is expected to speed up service because it will eliminate dwell times while passengers pay their fares in cash.

Cleveland RTAA 2012 study of the 10 most popular bus routes of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority found that buses spent twice as much time waiting for passengers to pay than they did waiting at red lights.

Cleveland RTA has launched a six-month “flash pass” mobile fare card pilot program that is expected to begin in June or July through mobile payment provider Passport.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus plans to seek requests for proposals for a new payment system to replace cash-only fare boxes. COTA also plans to offer wi-fi aboard its buses.

In Cincinnati, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has reached an agreement with Passport to develop a mobile ticketing app to be used on buses and the under construction streetcar line.

Public Transit Trips Decline in 2014 1st Quarter

June 17, 2014

Nearly 2.6 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation agencies in the first quarter of 2014, according to a report released last week by the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA said overall ridership was down 0.7 percent compared with first quarter of 2013, but ridership in all the rail modes and bus ridership in small communities posted increases.

Light rail ridership saw the largest increase at 3.2 percent while ridership on heavy rail (subways and elevated rail) ridership increased by 1.8 percent and commuter rail ridership went up by 1.1 percent.  Bus ridership in communities with populations of less than 100,000 increased by 2.1 percent.

However, Ohio’s three largest public transit agencies all saw declines in ridership in the first quarter of 2014.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority rail ridership fell by 8.40 percent in 2014 compared with the same period of time in 2013. RTA carried 624, 800 this year compared with  682, 100 in 2013.

As for bus ridership, Cincinnati’s Southwest Ohio RTA carried 395,3000 riders in the first quarter of 2014, a 5 percent decline from the first quarter of 2013 when it carried 416,120.

Cleveland RTA carried 905,360 during the same period, a fall of 5.81 percent from the 961,250 carried in 2013.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus saw its 2014 first quarter ridership fall by 4.14 percent. COTA buses carried 438,300 this year compared with 457,230 in 2013.

“Public transportation is a vital service for communities of all sizes across the country, contributing to economic growth and development and quality of life,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.

In the first quarter some cities saw ridership increases due to economic recovery, as new jobs rose and unemployment fell.

Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Salt Lake City are examples of cities that saw ridership growth in part due to economic growth.

“Since nearly 60 percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it’s not surprising to see ridership increases in cities where the economy is improving and more jobs are available,” Melaniphy said.

Some public transportation systems reported record first quarter ridership in the following cities:  Albany, N.Y.; Seattle; Stockton, Calif.; and Yuma, Ariz.

Melaniphy also noted that in the first quarter there were major winter weather events that negatively impacted public transit ridership in communities across the nation. For example, in Washington, D.C., the federal government closed for four working days and many other employers also shut down on these days.

In addition to severe winter weather, lower gas prices contributed to less public transit ridership.  Gas prices overall were 15 cents lower than in the first quarter of 2013.  In past years, high volatile gas prices have led many people to take public transportation instead of driving.

To see the complete APTA 2014 ridership report, go to: