How to Ride
Getting you onboard and on your way
New to riding COTA? Not sure where to start? Follow these tips on finding stops and schedules, checking routes, paying fares, and more for your next commute or adventure.
- COTA Travel Trainers can teach you everything you need to ride the bus independently and confidently.
- Get ready with Trip Planner
- Find nearby bus stops
- Check the schedule
- Download the Transit app using your smartphone or personal device
- Bike and Ride
- Park and Ride
- Free Wi-Fi
- Real-Time Tracking: See all your transit options with real-time tracking, trip planning, and more. Download the Transit App on iTunes or Google Play.
Board and Pay
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes early
- Stand near the bus stop sign
- Check the bus header sign for its destination
- Pay your fare with exact change or a Pass.
- Request free transfer passes, which are good for up to two hours, from the operator.
- Follow COTA’s Conduct Policy
- Pay attention to stops being announced ahead of time
- Just prior to your destination, signal operator to stop by pulling the yellow cord above the window
- Exit through the back door to help keep buses running on time
Other Tips to Make Your Ride Easier
- Emergency Rides: Don’t get stranded at work because of an emergency, illness, or unexpected overtime. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has a free service to help. Learn more.
- Unlimited Downtown Access: Enjoy unlimited access to the entire COTA bus system with the Downtown C-pass. Eligible workers and residents can use C-pass any day, any time, on any route thanks to MORPC, COTA, and Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District downtown property owners. Read details.
Take Your Bike Along for the Ride
It’s easy to ride your bike and use COTA to get around Central Ohio. Your bike rides for free, and it takes just a few moments to load it on one of the two racks at the front of the bus.
- Remove all loose items from your bike
- Make sure the operator knows you want to load your bike
- Load your bike from the curb side
- Choose the closest open bike rack to the bus
- Squeeze the bike rack handle to release the latch and lower the rack
- Put your bike into the rack’s wheel wells
- Make sure your front tire is on the same end as the support arm
- Raise and pull the support arm up and over the bike’s front tire
- When you’re close to your stop, remind the operator that you need to unload your bike
- Raise the support arm off the front tire and lower it out of the way
- Lift your bike out of the rack. If yours was the only bike on the rack, return the rack to the upright and locked position
- Signal the bus driver that you have removed your bike
For safety reasons, operators cannot assist customers with the bike rack. You must be able to load and unload your bike correctly without the operator’s assistance. Bikes are mounted at the user’s risk. COTA is not responsible for any theft or damage while the bike is mounted on the rack or located at any COTA facility. If you have questions or would like to schedule a Bike & Bus demonstration at your local event, please contact Customer Service.
Park and Ride
Sit back and enjoy the ride
Make the most of your daily commute by taking advantage of COTA’s Park & Ride locations conveniently located throughout Central Ohio, including New Albany, Downtown, The Ohio State University Main Campus, and other areas.
For more information about Park & Rides or to report a safety hazard or other issue, please contact Customer Service.
Keeping You Connected on the Go
COTA offers free, fleet-wide passenger Wi-Fi. So you can check email, access social media, or watch a movie while safely riding to your next destination.
How to log in
- Find for the Wi-Fi symbol displayed on your vehicle
- Pull up the COTA Passenger Wi-Fi network. On the login screen, you can register using a Facebook account, first name or email address.
- The only mandatory step for connecting to onboard Wi-Fi is accepting our Terms & Conditions. To accept, click the box at the bottom of the login screen.
- Once you’ve accepted the Terms, you are free to use Wi-Fi on your personal device.
- You can also connect to COTA Wi-Fi at the following locations:
- Outside of COTA’s Pass Sales Office at 33 N. High St.
- The COTA Spring Street Terminal at 33 W. Spring St.
- The COTA Transit Terminal at 25 E. Rich St.
- The COTA Easton Transit Center at 4260 Transit Dr.
- The COTA shelter at the John Glenn International Airport on the Arrivals level