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Mobility Services & Eligibility

Mobility Services – COTA Mainstream

COTA Mainstream is a shared-ride public transportation service providing origin-to-destination transportation for people whose functional limitations prevent them from riding COTA’s fixed-route buses for some or all of their trips.  To use COTA Mainstream, you must complete an application, attend an interview assessment and meet eligibility criteria for the service.  Once you complete the process the ADA Federal Law gives COTA twenty-one (21) days to render a decision and you will receive a status notification via U.S. mail.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in July 1990 to remove the physical barriers that have kept people with disabilities from fully participating in society.

The ADA considers fixed-route bus service to be “the primary mode of public transportation for everyone, including people with disabilities.”  Under the ADA, COTA Mainstream serves as a “safety net” for only those persons whose functional capacity imposed by their disability prevents them from riding the regular COTA bus.  Disability alone does not qualify a person to use COTA Mainstream under the ADA.

COTA Mobility Services Facility

1330 Fields Ave.
Columbus, OH  43201 (Map)

Phone: (614) 275-5828

Email: paratransit@cota.com

Fax: (614) 272-3018

Service Area and Hours of Operation

COTA Mainstream ADA service area is defined as being within ¾ mile distance of a fixed-route bus line.  Hours of operation for both the origin and destination locations are the same as the hours of operation for fixed-route service.

Any origin or destination location more than ¾ of a mile from a fixed-route bus line or trips made outside of the fixed-route hours of operation in any area is considered to be Non-ADA.  Non-ADA service is provided upon space availability and is not a required service mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How do I apply for COTA Mainstream?

Eligibility for  Mainstream cannot be based on financial hardship. A person must be over eight (8) years of age to certify for eligibility. To apply for COTA Mainstream, an application must be completed. Download the Mobility Services Application or call Mobility Services at (614) 275-5828 to request the application be mailed, faxed or emailed.

Once you receive the application you must complete part 1 of your application. You must also have a specialist that oversees your currently functional limitation(s) that prevent you from using the fixed route bus complete part 2 of the application. After both parts have been completed call (614) 275-5833 to schedule an appointment to attend an interview/functional assessment. All applicants must bring their completed application with them at the time of their appointment. All assessments are conducted at the Mobility Services Facility located at 1330 Fields Ave.

All new applicants and re-certifying customers must bring their current valid photo ID at the time of their interview assessment appointment.

Applicants must bring the mobility aid that they normally use when traveling. (cane, walker, etc.)

It is important to note when re-certifying, an applicant may experience a lapse in service if they do not keep their assessment appointment or fail to complete the entire process by their expiration date.

How do I schedule a COTA Mainstream trip?

The following are ways all qualified COTA Mainstream riders may schedule their trips:

  • Call the Reservations Department at (614) 272-3033 or TTY at (614) 272-3030.
    • Reservation hours are Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Email trip reservations – Send an Email Reservation.
  • Faxing trip reservations at (614) 272-3018

*Please note:  If you are scheduling a trip for next day service, emailed and faxed trip reservations must be received ½ hour prior to the Reservations Department close of business hours.

COTA Mainstream Fares

  • ADA trips – $3.50 per one way
  • Non-ADA trips – $5.00 per one way

* Mainstream  customers ride fixed-rate service free of charge

Acceptable payments for COTA Mainstream trips include:

  • Cash (exact change)
  • COTA Mainstream ticket (valued at $3.50 per ticket)
  • COTA Mainstream monthly Pass ($105.00 per month)

COTA Mainstream tickets and Monthly Passes may be purchased at COTA’s Administrative Building in the Pass Sales Department located at 33 N. High Street or by calling (614) 228-4123.

For more information about COTA Mainstream, call COTA Mobility Services Department at (614) 275-5828 or email paratransit@cota.com.

All qualified COTA Mainstream customers may also download the Accessible Services Guide for Paratransit Users to learn more about the rules and guidelines for riding the service.

Travel Training

Planning a trip and riding the bus is easy. Travel Trainers will help you plan trips and ride the bus.

Travel Training is for Anyone – Including You!

Sometimes the difference between trying something new, and trying nothing at all, is getting a helping hand.

When it comes to riding COTA, our Travel Trainers are here to offer assistance. Travel Training is a personal service focusing on your needs, is free and available to anyone, from older adults to those seeking independence by using public transportation.

Customized Training Sessions

COTA Travel Trainers are friendly and respectful. They customize individual training sessions to fit your needs. You’ll walk to your bus stop together, review bus schedules and fares—everything you want to know to make bus riding easy.

What Will I Learn?

  • Plan your trip using the easiest and safest route
  • Reach specific destinations
  • Read and understand route maps and schedules
  • Locate and transfer to other buses
  • Board the bus with a mobility device
  • Move your wheelchair or scooter onto the bus safely
  • Travel to and from bus stops
  • Recognize bus numbers, bus stops and landmarks
  • Pay fares and purchase passes
  • Board and exit the bus safely
  • Know where and how to safely cross the street
  • Get service information
  • Travel independently and confidently by COTA bus!

For more information on travel training, call (614) 308-4355.

ADA Compliance

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) is committed to complying with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in all of its programs and services.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against an individual with a disability in connection with the provision of transportation service.  {§ 37.5(a)}

Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of a disability may file a formal complaint with COTA no later than 180 calendar days after the alleged discrimination occurred by filling out COTA’s ADA Complaint Form  and forwarding the completed form by Electronic mail or postal service to:

Central Ohio Transit Authority
Attn: ADA Coordinator
33 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Complaints may also be taken by phone at (614) 228-1776, 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

If you have any questions regarding COTA’s ADA policy you may contact COTA’s ADA Coordinator by email or by phone at (614) 308-4338, or at 33 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215, Attn: ADA Coordinator

Reasonable Modification

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) provides reasonable modification to policies and procedures to customers to ensure they can effectively use the agency’s transit services.  Individuals requesting a modification should clearly describe what they need in order to use COTA bus and paratransit services.  To make a request, please contact COTA’s Mobility Coordinator.

COTA Mobility Coordinator
Email:  PullinsTL@cota.com
Phone:  (614) 275-5833
Mail:  Attn. Mobility Coordinator
Central Ohio Transit Authority
1330 Fields Avenue
Columbus, Ohio  43201

Please note, COTA may deny a requested modification if:

  1. The modification will fundamentally alter the nature of service, program, or activity;
  2. The modification will result in a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
  3. The individual is able to use the service, program or activity for its intended purpose without the requested modification, or;
  4. The modification will result in undue financial or administrative burden on COTA.

How to Obtain Visitor Status on Mainstream

Visitors to the Columbus metropolitan area who are unable to use the accessible Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) local bus because of their disabilities, are eligible to use Mainstream service for 21 days in a rolling 365 day period. To apply for visitor’s status please have the current paratransit provider mail, fax, or email verification to our office. In order to process the request we will need to obtain the following information:

  1. Applicant’s full name
  2. Applicant’s full address and phone number
  3. Applicant’s paratransit ID number and expiration date
  4. Type of mobility aide used, if applicable
  5. Authorized a Personal Care Attendant
  6. If applicant uses a service animal

If the visitor does not have paratransit in their home area and the individual’s disability is not apparent, a certification of the disability by their healthcare provider is needed. We will also require the applicant to provide items 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 above. Once we receive the information we will contact the applicant within one business day.

COTA Mobility Services Contact Information for Visitor Status
1330 Fields Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 275-5833
Fax: (614) 272-3015
Email: pullinstl@cota.com