Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question for COTA? Chances are others had the same question. Please see a list of frequently asked questions below. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact our customer service team. We will be glad to answer any question you have.
Where is my bus?
Please visit the Maps and Routes section of the website for scheduled information. You may also call Customer Service at (614) 228-1776.
How do I find a bus stop?
Please visit the Maps and Routes section of the website to find bus stops.
How safe is it to ride COTA?
COTA buses are very safe. COTA’s number one priority is the safety and security of our passengers and employees. Every bus is equipped with security cameras for your safety. Visit the Safety and Security section of the website for more information.
Can I be notified about service changes?
Yes, please visit the Rider Alerts section of the website to sign up for notifications. COTA adjusts services every January, May and September. Look for Commuter Bulletins at the front of the bus and at stops. You may call (614) 228-1776 to request a Service Change Book.
Can I bring a stroller or shopping cart on the bus?
Yes, for your safety and the safety of other passengers, fold the stroller or pull cart to keep the aisle clear for all passengers. View the official stroller policy.
Can I take a beverage or cooler on the bus?
Only beverages in hard-sided cups with fixed lids can be brought on the bus. Coolers or groceries are permitted on the bus so long as they do not block the aisle and are secure. Thanks for keeping our buses safe and clean.
What if I lost something on the bus?
To report a lost item, call (614) 228-4112.
Can I take my bike on the bus?
Yes. Please visit the Bike & Bus section of the website for more information.
What are service changes and when do they happen?
Service changes are adjustments to COTA service that happen three times a year after public input. Please visit the Service Changes section of the website for more information.
What’s Bus Rapid Transit?
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is bus transit technology that offers improved service, limited stops, faster travel times and other improvements in high capacity transit corridors. Visit the Bus Rapid Transit section of the website for more information.
Why are seats at the front of the bus different?
Seats at the front of the bus are for seniors and riders with disabilities. Please keep these seats free or offer your seat to those who need it.
What if I miss the last bus from my area?
If an emergency happens during the workday, RideSolutions Guaranteed Ride Home will reimburse 90 percent of your taxi ride. To sign up or learn more call 888-742-RIDE.
What programs does COTA have for students?
COTA currently has bus pass programs with The Ohio State University, Columbus City Schools and Columbus College of Art and Design. Visit the Pass Programs section of the website for more information.
Fares and Passes
How much does it cost to ride the bus?
We offer Local and Express Fares as well as a variety of passes, multi trip tickets, and special passes and discounts. To learn more, please visit the Fares and Passes section of the website.
What kinds of passes are there? What about multi trip tickets?
We offer 7-Day Passes, 31-Day Passes, Monthly Mainstream, Summer Youth Passes, OSU Opt-In Passes, as well as 2,5 and 10 ride multi trip tickets for Local, Express, and Discount riders. Visit the Fares and Passes section of the website for more information.
How can I get a transfer? How much does it cost?
Ask your bus operator for transfers when you board the bus. Customers who purchase a single-trip bus fare can transfer to another bus line of the same type or same line in the same direction without charge. Transfers are valid for two hours from time of issue. Transfers between bus types, such as from a Local to an Express route, are subject to an up-charge.
Where and when can I buy a bus pass? Can I buy a bus pass online?
You can purchase a pass at these COTA Pass Outlets. Bus passes are not available for purchase online at this time.
Do I have to pay for a small child? Does COTA offer discounted fares and passes?
COTA offers reduced fare for seniors, children, and riders with disabilities. Visit the Discount Fares section of the website for more information.
Is it ever free to ride COTA?
When the Franklin County Sheriff declares a Level 2 or Level 3 Snow Emergency, COTA assists in keeping the roads clear of congestion by providing free fares. This free fare policy is in effect for the entire day once a snow emergency is declared and will be announced in Rider Alerts.
Do you have fare information available in languages other than English?
Yes. Click on your preferred language to download:
Is the bus accessible to seniors and people with disabilities?
Fixed-route buses have the ability to lower to the curb to make boarding easier, and ramps extend to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices on paratransit vehicles. Stops are announced and displayed onboard in fixed-route buses, so you know the next bus stop. Paratransit service is scheduled, so you always know where you are going. Visit the Accessibility section of the website for more information.
Can personal care attendants and service animals ride with me?
Service animals are welcome on both fixed-route and paratransit vehicles. One Personal Care Attendant (PCA) boards free on fixed-route buses with valid COTA ID card. PCA box must be marked “YES” on the COTA ID for the PCA free ride. Visit Mobility Services to obtain the COTA ID card.
What paratransit services does COTA offer?
In addition to making our fixed-route vehicles and services accessible, COTA also provides paratransit services. Please visit the Mobility Services section of the website for more information.
What senior, veteran, ADA or medicare programs does COTA offer?
COTA offers reduced fare for seniors, children, and riders with disabilities, including veterans and Medicare recipients. Learn more about reduced fares, please visit the Discount Fares section of the website.
What types of jobs are available with COTA?
COTA hires qualified candidates as bus operators, mechanics, coach cleaners, customer service representatives, transportation services supervisors, administrative staff (clerical, reception, accounting, human resources, operations, planning, payroll), and for management positions.
How can I apply for a job with COTA?
To check out our open positions click here
Is COTA an equal opportunity employer?
Yes, COTA is an equal opportunity employer.
Does COTA have a Lost and Found?
Yes. Contact Lost & Found at (614) 228-4112.
How do I find my Park & Ride?
For more information, please visit the Park & Ride section of the website.
What is a COTA Transit Center? Where are they located?
A COTA Transit Center is a hub for multiple COTA lines. Our three Transit Centres are located at:
Linden – Cleveland and 11th Ave.
Easton – 4260 Stelzer Rd.
Near East – 1125 E. Main St.
How many shelters does COTA have?
COTA maintains more than 350 shelters and over 3,500 bus stops.
Where is COTA located?
COTA is located at 33 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
How green are COTA facilities?
Taking good care of the environment is important to COTA. To learn more, please visit the Caring for the Environment Environmental Innovation section of the website.
COTA and the Community
What is COTA planning for the future?
From improving our current service to investing in rapid transit, COTA actively works on ways to make our community better. Visit the Community Projects section of the website to learn more.
How can I share ideas on improving COTA?
We welcome your suggestions to improve COTA. Each year, COTA participates in over 300 outreach activities. Outreach activities include holding community leaders roundtable discussions; delivering presentations to neighborhood groups, business and civic organizations and participating in one-on-one and group meetings with stakeholders. Come to public meetings or contact us. Your feedback makes COTA better.
Doing Business with COTA
How do I register with COTA?
To register to do business with COTA, please visit the Vendor Opportunities section of the website.
How do I do business with COTA?
Once you receive your Vendor ID from COTA, go to the Vendor Opportunities section of the website to view and download our RFPs and RFBs. Directions for responding are listed in each solicitation document.
How do I find out what opportunities COTA has?
Please visit the Vendor Opportunities section of the website for more information about current opportunities.
I lost my login ID. How do I get a new one?
To retrieve your login ID, please send your request to email@example.com.
What are DBE, MBE and FBE? How do I learn more?
Please visit the DBE Program section of the website for more information.
If I’m registered with another agency as a DBE/MBE/FBE is my certification recognized by COTA?
COTA recognizes three other local agencies’ certifications: Ohio Department of Transportation – DBE, City of Columbus – MBE/FBE and Ohio Department of Administrative Services – MBE
What are NAICS codes and where do I find them for my company?
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced Nakes) was developed as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, analysis, and publication of statistical data related to the business economy of the U.S. Visit the NAICS website to search for your codes.
How do I get on COTA’s bidder list?
To be added to a Bidder’s List, e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your company name and all contact information, along with the name of the project you are referencing.