COLUMBUS (WCMH) - Starting January 1 and running through the end of the week, riders can travel for free on COTA's new CMAX bus route along Cleveland Avenue.
Through January 7, the express line is offering free rides to customers. The new route is expected to get riders to their destinations about 20 percent faster by limiting stops.
Inside the buses, riders can access Wi-Fi and use USB ports to plug in phones and electronic devices.
Doug Arseneault, public affairs administrator at COTA, said COTA is committed to the neighborhoods along Cleveland Avenue and hopes to help the people who live there connect to the economic development and opportunities in the area. That includes Rogue Fitness and the Huntington Gateway Center.
"Customers along Cleveland Avenue can really enjoy that connection to job centers, shopping centers, churches, community centers, our park-and-rides, and transit centers," Arseneault said.
At the CMAX stations, customers can see real-time information on when the next bus is scheduled to arrive, as well as artwork, some of it by local artists.
The CMAX route will remain free to riders from January 1 through January 7.
Donald Turner rode the CMAX bus early on New Year's Day after he finished an overnight shift at work. He said the bus is one of the ways he gets around Columbus.
"I usually take it to go to work," Turner said. "I work out west, late hours, get off, the buses stop running. I usually get off at like four in the morning, so when the buses start running, that'll give me the opportunity to go home."
The CMAX project cost $48.6 million, of which $37.4 million came from the Federal Transit Administration.