The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) announce it has officially launched its six-month pilot program that extends eligibility for transit discounts to individuals who receive public income assistance.
The COTA Income Assistance Program provides a 50% discount for customers who participate in one of the following countywide programs:
- SNAP food assistance
- Publicly funded childcare
- Ohio Works First cash assistance
- Prevention,Retention and Contingency emergency assistance; Medicaid; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
Eligible customers can apply for the discounted fares starting today at COTA’s Customer Experience Center located at 33 North High Street in downtown Columbus.
Customers need to show verification from a qualifying agency that displays their name and verifies they receive assistance from one of the countywide programs. COTA Customer Experience Champions will be available to review documentation and verify eligibility for enrollment.
“COTA’s Income Assistance Program pilot is an important expansion of our commitment to providing equitable access to our customers who need it most,” said Angel Mumma, COTA CFO. “We’re excited to implement this program utilizing our new digital fare payment system, which allows for fare capping so all customers are offered the best fare rate for their trips.”
Currently, seniors, children, veterans, and qualifying disabled customers are already eligible for 50% discounted fares. Those who qualify for Income Assistance can receive their discount through COTA’s new account-based digital payment system.
The new account-based ticketing system, which launched in November, utilizes the Transit app or COTA Smartcards and allows customers to benefit from new fare capping technology that keeps track of their trips so customers paying standard fare will not pay more than $4.50 per day or $62 per month.
Customers receiving Income Assistance will have their fares capped at $2.25 per day and $31 per month. This discount will not apply to cash-paying customers who are not using COTA’s account- based system.
Once qualifying customers activate their account, they can load cash onto the Transit app or Smartcard and travel immediately. There are ways to load funds:
- Add funds to your Transit app account using a credit or debit card.
- Visit COTA.com and log in to your account and add funds using a credit or debit card.
- Visit one of 350+ retail locations across COTA’s service area to load cash onto the Transit app or Smartcard.
- Visit the Customer Experience Center at 33 North High Street in downtown Columbus to load funds onto your account.