The Central Ohio Transit Authority began a week-long series of public forums last night on changes to several routes, which are scheduled to begin on May 1st.
Three additional forums are scheduled this week, including one this afternoon. Mike Foley reports.
COTA is shifting its focus away from downtown Columbus in order to streamline service and get more riders. The changes mean taking passengers to and from work centers in the suburbs. COTA says its current system has been operating since 1974, and the overhaul has been more than three years in the making. COTA says downtown was a more of a focal point for employment in the 70s, but job centers have spread out throughout Franklin County around the outer belt. So it wants to shift routes to serve more of those job centers, but will maintain service to employees working downtown. Technological advances in services and the buses themselves are also planned, including Wi-Fi on all busses and allowing customers to pay fares with smart cards. More information on the changes is available at cota.com. This afternoon's forum is at the OSU student union. Others are scheduled Wednesday evening at the Lhota Building on High Street, and Thursday evening at the Worthington Municipal Building.