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Responding to Coronavirus

COTA Continues to Adjust Service and Policies to Meet the Needs of Our Community

As our community navigates a new normal, COTA continues to respond with innovative solutions to protect customers and employees while meeting the mobility demands of Central Ohio.

Because mobility is essential to our lives, we are going the extra mile to protect you with daily sanitization procedures that exceed industry standards using virus-killing disinfectants and the cutting-edge technology of long-lasting antimicrobial coatings. This innovative approach is applied through spraying, fogging and intensely cleaning every surface to allow us to keep moving forward, together.

Service Adjustments: Beginning in April, COTA has been providing new service to better meet the essential travel needs of customers while reducing demands on employees. Service has shifted to a consistent schedule, 7-days a week. We are continuously evaluating demand to best serve our community. The most current changes and schedules can be found in the sections below.

Policy Adjustments: COTA has introduced the following policies to further protect our community and encourage social distancing (scroll down for more details):

  • Customers are required to wear masks
  • Essential travel only
  • 20 passenger limit per bus – dynamic service in place to respond to any pass-ups resulting from this policy
  • Fares temporarily suspended; rear door boarding

What COTA is doing to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus

  • March 1 – COTA implemented the Stop the Spread Campaign, which provided tips on how to prevent the spread of infectious disease. COTA also limited the number of riders on each bus to 20 and asks customers to observe social distancing. Dynamic service was put in place to assist with any pass-ups occuring as a result of this change.
  • March 16 – COTA’s initial focused service changes reduced the number of bus routes and consolidated services in some areas.
  • March 19 – COTA suspended fares and instructed riders to board buses from the rear doors to keep separate from drivers.
  • April 1 – COTA began mandatory temperature checks for all employees entering COTA facilities.
  • April 3 – COTA announced its Essential Travel Only Policy, for which buses are to be used by customers only for access to food, health care, travel to and from work, and caring for others.
  • April 8 – COTA began distributing masks to all COTA employees.
  • April 15 – COTA began requiring passengers to wear secure personal protection masks covering their faces.
  • April 16 – COTA began doubling the cleaning/disinfecting of 118 transit shelters.
  • April 27 – COTA made changes to essential service to ease demands on front-line employees.

What you can do to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus

We can all do our part to prevent the spread of germs. Please use the hand sanitizer dispenser located at the front of our transit vehicles, wash your hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hand with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

COTA will require customers to wear masks beginning Wednesday, April 15.

To help protect customers and COTA employees from the spread of Coronavirus, we are taking the important step of requiring customers to wear masks. Masks can be either medical or homemade and can include scarves or bandanas. They must fully cover the nose and mouth.

Below are guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

CDC’S RECOMMENDATION REGARDING THE USE OF CLOTH MASKS

CDC’S HOW TO WEAR AND CREATE A MASK

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH’S MASK DOS AND DON’TS

The CDC and ODH have both stated that masks help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. We are following their guidance to protect customers and employees.

Using COTA for Essential Needs

How to Take COTA to Food Pantries
How to Take COTA to Schools for Free Breakfast and Lunch

Resources

COTA is monitoring the following Coronavirus-specific resources, which provide important information and situation updates on the outbreak:
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC Travel Information
Ohio Department of Health (ODH Coronavirus Telephone Hotline: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634))
Franklin County Public Health
Columbus Public Health

Media Coverage

WCMH: COTA Protecting Riders and Drivers

WCMH: COTA & Donatos deliver 1,000 Pizzas to COTA Transit Workers

WCMH: COTA Moves to ‘Focused Service’, Offers Kids Free Rides to Get Meals

Dispatch: COTA Steps Up Cleaning to Slow Coronavirus Spread

WSYX: Is It Safe to Ride? COTA Puts Hygiene Fears to Rest

WBNS: COTA Increases Cleaning Staff, Launches Campaign in Response to Coronavirus Concerns

WCMH: What COTA is Doing to Keep Public Transit Safe From Coronavirus

WOSU: Coronavirus In Ohio: Columbus Officials Prepare For COVID-19 To Hit