The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has seen a sustained increase in ridership in 2011. As of early August, COTA ridership is up 8.6 percent over the same period in 2010 and 10.3 percent over 2009. For the week ending Aug. 7, ridership spiked 15.5 percent over the same week in 2010. Total weekly ridership was 352,229.
COTA provided over 17 million rides in 2010 and is on pace to provide over 18 million rides in 2011.
On an average weekday last week, COTA provided over 62,000 rides, which was 15.8 percent higher than in 2010. It was also the 15th consecutive week of increased ridership this year.
COTA officials attributed much of the increases earlier in the year to surging gas prices. However, as fuel prices have retreated, ridership has continued to grow.
"People are continuing to try public transit," said Bill Lhota, COTA president/CEO. "We are especially pleased that once they realize using COTA results in significant cost savings when compared to driving, they remain transit customers."
In addition to COTA's overall ridership, Ohio State University (OSU) student ridership has seen steady increases. OSU weekday ridership was over 4,300, a 17.8, percent increase over the prior year.
"To meet the increased demand, we are continuing to put resources into improving and expanding our service, investing in new buses and providing a convenient and comfortable experience for our customers," said Lhota. "Once we've welcomed new riders to public transit, our goal is to keep them as customers."