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New application aims to make campus-area bus transportation more efficient by combining COTA, CABS data

An East Residential CABS bus on 17th Avenue. Some students have noticed that buses have been overcrowded lately. Credit: Logan Hickman / Lantern photographer

A new smartphone application, Connect and Ride, aims to make campus-area bus transportation more efficeint by combining CABS and COTA bus data. 
Credit: Logan Hickman / Lantern photographer

While the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Campus Area Bus Service both have separate smartphone applications aiming to help members of the Ohio State community plan bus trips, a new application works to combine bus data from both.

Connect and Ride (C-Ride) was launched May 27 by Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization, to provide travelers with more efficient bus rides, according to a Battelle press release.

“The approach it is using allows travelers to schedule trips, to plan trips,” Tom Timcho, a Battelle project manager, said.

The cooperation of COTA and CABS is one of the highlights of this application, Timcho said.

“(We are) able to bring together multiple transportation providers within a single application and utilize the technology of smartphones in the benefit of the travelers and to the agency,” Timcho said. “You can schedule trips on CABS and COTA (separately). You can look at trips that include CABS and COTA transfers.”

Timcho said one of the biggest features of the application is “connection protection.”

This feature enables C-Ride users to give notifications to COTA drivers so they can hold the bus for up to one minute. This feature does not work for CABS buses, though.

Some OSU students said they are willing to try the application.

“I would definitely use it cause it sounds like you can save a lot of time from waiting for a bus that doesn’t come on time,” Gary Khoo, a third-year in strategic communication, said.

Emily Ensworth, a third-year in health sciences, said she will definitely use the application.

“Since I live off campus I use the buses a fair amount and I feel like an app would be very useful,” Ensworth said. “It would especially be nice on weekends and during the summer when the busses don’t run as frequently.”

Some students who do not prefer taking a bus said they would give C-Ride a try as well.

“I personally don’t ride the buses very often, especially the COTA, but I would probably do so more often with this app,” Natalie Sywyj, a third-year in biology, said. “The connection protection part is especially intriguing and it’d be cool to have it for CABS buses also.”

Timcho said OSU and COTA both provided great support during the development of C-Ride.

“There were no costs directly that were paid (by either) but they have both contributed man power and effort in terms of their technical resources,” Timcho said. “Their scheduling folks and their operation folks definitely supported the development of the application.”

According to Battelle’s press release, a similar application will be tested in Orlando, Fla., later this year.

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