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COTA adds routes, aims to curb confusion

The Central Ohio Transportation Authority is making changes to Ohio State-based bus routes with students in mind. The current route, 84, is being split into three separate routes, the 80, 82 and 84.

Currently, the 84 OSU/Lennox route runs through the OSU campus, makes a loop within the Lennox Town Center and returns to campus. The 84 Arlington/OSU/Lennox/Grandview route serves the OSU campus, Lennox Town Center, the Kingsdale Shopping Center and Lane Avenue shops.

“Our goal is just to simplify everything, instead of having confusion about when to take which line, hopefully we will improve on their transit experience,” said Claire Ferneding, the marketing intern at COTA.

The one route is now being split into three distinct route lines. The 80 route will serve the OSU campus, making a loop in the Lennox Town Center and returning to campus. That route will run on 30-minute intervals.

The second route, the 82, will serve the OSU campus and run through Grandview, stopping at King Avenue, Fifth Avenue, North Star Avenue and loop back to campus at Grandview Yard. This route will also run on a 30-minute interval.

The last route, the 84, will serve the OSU campus and the Arlington area. The route will feature stops on Lane Avenue and Northwest Boulevard and will loop back to campus at the Kingsdale Shopping Center. This route will run on 60-minute intervals.

“We realized there was a lot of things people were wanting out of this line, and were not able to offer them as easily the way the 84 was currently set up,” Ferneding said. “We are hoping these route realignments will help people get where they are going faster and easier.”

These changes are going to be implemented in May, during COTA’s normal service change period. Ferneding said exact details on budgeting for the routes were not immediately available, but will be made available at a later date.

“People are going to understand where they are going, and it’s going to be easier to know exactly where their bus is going,” said Beth Berkemer, public and media relations manager at COTA. “We are looking for increased ridership. I think people will be more willing to take the bus if they understand the route better.”

Berkemer said additional buses and drivers will be assigned to these routes. She said she believes the demand is there for students to ride COTA and that these realignments will increase student ridership.

“When we add additional routes, we’re going to have additional drivers and buses out there. We’re expecting the demand to meet the service that we’re putting out there,” Berkemer said. “We feel the demand is there, and student ridership is going up. It’s going to meet the needs of OSU.”

Ryan Neitzel, a third-year in accounting, said the bus routes are very confusing if you don’t ride them often.

“I do think making the routes less confusing would encourage me to ride the bus more, and not just me, many students will benefit from a less confusing bus route,” Neitzel said. “Students have so much on their day to day agendas and time is a major constraint. Busing can relieve some of the constraint.”

For OSU students, faculty and staff, riding COTA is free with a valid BuckID. Built into the cost of tuition, all students are charged a $9 COTA bus service fee each quarter. Ferneding said this service is already there for students, and that is who these changes are intended for.

“Gas prices are going through the roof and parking is a pain. We’re hoping that people are going to see it as an opportunity to take an alternative (form of transportation),” Ferneding said. “Especially for OSU students who have it built in with their BuckID.”

 

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