COTA, CCS partnership aims to get students to and from schools

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Breaking down transportation barriers, 8,000 Columbus City School Students will soon be able to take advantage of the city’s bussing system thanks to a partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA).

This is meant to be another resource with the goal to make transportation a little bit easier for families as more students head back to the classroom.

The $216,000 investment by the school district will provide bus passes for students eighth through 12th grades.

It’s another way to get students out and about. Jeff Pullin, a spokesperson with COTA, said it’ll be able to handle the riders.

“What is great about this is that we have availability right now because we’re running at about half capacity because of the pandemic and people aren’t back at work yet working in their physical offices,” he said.

The district approved using federal CARES Act funding for the partnership during Tuesday’s board meeting.

It will give those students free, COTA bus access between now and Aug. 25.

“For example, to an LEC on Wednesday during their remote day, if they wanted to do any extra curricular activities after school and also have the pass for summer programming,” said Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon.

CCS said nearly 1.300 families have committed to taking their kids to and from school.

COTA passes are meant to be supplemental to the yellow buses, ways to get to afterschool extracurriculars and jobs.

“COTA and CCS will provide school-specific maps showing all the nearby bus stops and routes around each of the district’s schools and we are also working on developing ride training resources for students,” Dixon said.

Pullin said it will be a phased approach, with seniors getting the passes first, then juniors, and so on. This is to gage popularity of stops so they can add or subtract buses.

“We’ll be able to look at our data daily so that means if we see an influx of students on line 10 on a Wednesday, we can put more transit vehicles on that line the next day during those peak hours and also get them out there a little earlier,” he said.

Buses will have WIFI and some will even have USB charging sources.

Students who live in southern Columbus and go to school in that part of the city will be able to use COTA-Plus.

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