We hear you. We see you. We support you.
This is an unprecedented time for our community. COTA is playing a crucial role moving more than 20,000 people a day, as well as providing mobility to those demonstrating and who want to share their voice. In addition, as part of the public infrastructure network, when called upon, we provide mobility to the Columbus Police Department (CPD). A longstanding agreement between COTA, CPD and emergency management authorities exists that allows CPD to transport officers on COTA when a state of emergency is declared. The video being shared on social media shows exactly that; our vehicles were used to transport police responding to what they believed to be a dangerous situation that occurred during the city’s emergency curfew. To be clear, we were not and are not transporting individuals detained by police action during any of the demonstrations. The video rightfully sparks emotion during this time of high tension. Unfortunately, the misinformation on some social posts about COTA being involved in policing actions is inaccurate, misleading and adds confusion and hurt.
Those who know us, know we provide emergency service of all types when called upon as part of the Emergency Operations Center… we assisted Columbus Police & Fire several weeks ago to transport victims of flooding to temporary Red Cross shelters; during fires, we transport displaced families to temporary shelter and provide our vehicles as cooling or warming stations for firefighters; and, throughout the COVID-19 crisis we have managed to remain open and provide service 13 hours a day to serve those most in need during the pandemic.
Just as our Vision states – To Move Every Life Forward – Team COTA is unified in our commitment to providing equitable access for all in our community. We have managed to continue our pandemic hours of service throughout the recent days of demonstration, re-routing service around downtown to avoid interruption of peaceful demonstrations and to safely transport our customers and employees.
To be clear, COTA has been and is committed to dismantling centuries of structural and institutional racism that pollutes our society. We hear you. We see you. We support you.