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Posts Tagged ‘COTA’

Nothing says “Thanks for visiting Columbus” better than Smackies Original Pit BBQ on the corner of Broad and James. The airlines seldom serve food on flights and some good ole BBQ might just make your trip more pleasant.

If you happen to transfer en-route to Port Columbus at the intersection of Main and James you might have enough time to run into BP and grab a soda and a bag of sunflower seeds.

Transferring at Livingston and James will offer no amenities for your flight.

But don’t despair, because if you happen to transfer at Fifth Avenue and James you’ll be able to get in your “greens” with something close to a fresh picked salad of sorts.

I bring these images to your attention because I still find it outrageous that getting to Port Columbus via public transportation from anywhere in town requires a transfer on James Road.

COTA route 92 is the only dedicated route serving Port Columbus, and while it runs from just before six o’clock in the morning until just before ten o’clock in the evening, it is perhaps the last place a visitor would be inclined to venture if they were leaving the city.

COTA routes 1, 2, 6 and 10 connect from downtown to James Road, which gives one plenty of options to get to James Road, but once there one finds themselves in a virtual “no man’s land”. James Road has no “branding” as a gateway to Port Columbus. Additionally, the 92 runs at about 30 minute headways, so if a traveler were to misconnect, they’re stuck there for a period of time that makes waiting a bit uncomfortable.

COTA’s route 52 offers service from OSU to Port Columbus on certain dates in January, March, June, August, September, November and December – likely coinciding with the university’s noteworthy dates (move in, spring break, etc..) but this service isn’t really dependable for the general population.

Port Columbus just opened up the Green parking lot on the corner of Stelzer and 17th touting $4 per day parking. It might have been a better investment had Port Columbus partnered with COTA to create reasonable and convenient bus service in and out of the airport. Another parking lot only encourages automobile use and thus, more congestion.

Considering downtown Columbus is less than ten miles from Port Columbus (Experience Columbus calls it “10 minutes from downtown”), there should be a more convenient public transit option. The current options of transferring at James Road require at least one hour – and take the rider to an environment that will make them think twice before ever using COTA to get to and from Port Columbus.

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COTA is once again expanding service beginning January 1st 2010.  New service extends weekend hours, adding two new line-ups on both Saturday and Sunday.

Currently the last downtown line-up is at 10pm.  The new service adds both and 11pm and 12am departures in all directions.  On Sunday as well, two new line-ups are added at 8pm and 9pm.  Previously the last Sunday departure was between 6pm and 7pm depending upon the route.

The downtown line-up is when all busses arrive, wait for transfers, then depart.  It is an effective method of ensuring that customers have access to connecting busses and helps COTA re-set any schedule fluctuations that have occurred.

Fares also increase beginning January 1st.  One-way single fare local will be $1.75 up from $1.50 and monthly passes increase to $55 up from $45.  The last fare increase took place in 2006 however a tax levy of 0.25% passed in 2006 offered COTA additional revenue to increase service.  However, the recession has led to reduced spending and thus reduced tax revenues for COTA.

The extended services on the weekend routes offer tremendous potential for Columbus residents and businesses.  Venues such as the Arena District and Short North are now accessible without the need for a taxi after 10p which is often about the time the fun gets started on a Saturday night.  Visitors to Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park can now travel via COTA following hockey and baseball games and concerts, which should help alleviate congestion.

Sunday’s service extension is a benefit to both retailers and employees, offering greater access to all parts of the city to more people.  Adding almost three additional hours of transit access on Sunday increases the employment opportunities for most Columbus residents.

For more information, please visit www.cota.com

From a personal standpoint, these service additions make it almost possible to eliminate the car for the sake of commuting to work.  There is only one instance now where I would have to use the car, whereas in the past, I had to calculate my schedule precisely and any delay would have meant the need for a taxi.  That potential led me to drive more often, just in case.  That worry is eliminated with the extended COTA service.

It may also mean that a 2010 COTA Challenge is about to begin.

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