The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) is partnering with Via to provide the only full-time on-demand bus service in the U.S. In the first three weeks of service, COTA//Plus Bus On-Demand customers averaged 13-minute wait times to be transported to any transit stop within their defined zone, including John Glenn International Airport, during regular service hours, seven days a week.
COTA//Plus Bus On-Demand transports multiple customers who hail a transit vehicle at the nearest transit stop through the COTA//Plus app. Northeast Franklin County customers formerly relied on three fixed route lines — 25, 35 and 45 — which were suspended in May due to low ridership, as many were working remotely or furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wait times between transit vehicles on those lines ranged from 30 minutes to 45 minutes to rush hour-only service. COTA//Plus Bus On-Demand responds to customers within 15 minutes.
To ensure social distancing, COTA On-Demand transit vehicles are limited to 10 customers, while larger fixed-route vehicles are limited to 20 customers. Passengers and operators are required to wear masks while on board any COTA transit vehicle. COTA has an extensive cleaning and sanitization protocols, including sanitizing all transit vehicles from three to five times a day, treating all surfaces with an antimicrobial solution, and doubling the sanitization of 118 transit shelters.
The service is COTA’s second on-demand venture with Via following the launch of the COTA Plus microtransit network in 2019.