Downtown Transit Pass Program Kicking Off

May 9, 2018

Nearly 45,000 eligible Downtown Columbus workers will soon be able to benefit from unlimited access to the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA’s) entire bus system through the C-pass program. The program aims to help ease the parking shortage, which has a negative impact on downtown office leasing.

Three years ago, downtown property owners feared a parking shortage would stall development. That is when the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (CCSID), MORPC and COTA joined forces to pilot a study to see if downtown workers would change commuting habits with a transit incentive.

Transit ridership nearly doubled when employees were offered a bus pass at no cost to them. Now, the partners are extending the program throughout the entire special improvement district, with the downtown property owners picking up the cost of the bus passes. Hundreds of downtown employers have registered their employees in preparation for the June 1 launch.

Every day, tens of thousands of commuters make the drive to a downtown job, trying to take advantage of scarce or pricey parking and often walking blocks to a job site that sits directly on a bus line. As an alternative, the C-pass provides many of these employees with the ability to ride the bus any day, any time, on any route.

“This could be a national model on how to use transit to fill offices and reduce parking shortages without building a new garage. It’s the largest program of its kind. Downtown workers will find that riding the bus to work is more convenient, and saves them time and money while helping keep the air cleaner, too.”
MORPC Transportation Systems & Funding Director Thea Walsh

Those who participate in the C-pass program will be eligible for MORPC’s Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program. The ERH program is a free service that assures all commuters who carpool, vanpool, bike or ride the bus to work that they won’t be stranded in the case of emergency, illness or unexpected overtime.  It is a benefit meant to ease the commuter’s mind about public transportation. Register for ERH here.

The C-pass program is currently funded through 2020. More information for employers and workers is available at

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