Ridership increases on Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) buses led the nation in 2011 according to figures released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). COTA’s ridership grew nearly 10.2 percent over 2010, the highest percentage increase among large bus agencies in the U.S.
“This is a significant achievement,” said COTA President/CEO W. Curtis Stitt. “COTA has been focused on growing our service and improving the quality of our product. The community has responded by getting aboard.”
In 2011, COTA provided 18.7 million passenger trips, COTA’s highest ridership since 1999. Nationally, transit ridership grew to 10.4 billion trips, an increase of 2.3 percent. 2011 saw the second highest annual ridership on public transit nationally since 1957.
COTA posted strong ridership growth in each quarter throughout 2011 and, as gas prices increase, ridership is up in the first two months of 2012. COTA’s January 2012 ridership was up 6.1 percent over January 2011.
“We are encouraged that as commuters try COTA to minimize the impact of higher fuel prices on their budgets, they respond favorably to our service and many become long-term users of transit,” Stitt said. “By putting a quality product on the street and carry forward with growing our service, we can continue to welcome new riders.”