As originally published on TransitColumbus is proud to announce our endorsement of the proposed changes coming out of COTA’s Transit System Review process. Head over to ColumbusUnderground for our opinion piece or read our statement below:

Transit Columbus strongly supports the transit system review (TSR) redesign process being developed by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) that will streamline and improve service. These changes will provide the best coverage for the largest amount of Central Ohioans possible. COTA has the ability to vastly improve access, reliability, frequency, and ridership by revamping the current system to become simplified and efficient; all this with no additional taxpayer funding. We acknowledge that change is hard, and there will be some growing pains as a result of these changes. However, the end result will be a vast improvement for greatest number of people possible.

The core idea of the scenario proposed by consultant team including Jarret Walker (of the blog Human Transit), is to expand the network of services that run every 15 minutes or better all day — so that more people have service that is highly useful.  The plan creates higher-frequency, better-connected service that is projected to increase ridership by 10% within two years.

Currently only three routes provide high frequency service; under the new scenario more than 10 routes will have service that runs every 15 minutes or better. The plan also proposes to extend better service to suburban job centers in places such as Rickenbacker, New Albany and Dublin, and will realign less effective service to improve ridership and connectivity to jobs, while less productive routes will be discontinued.

Transit Columbus believes this is a better way for COTA to do business. It maximizes existing resources, creates better service and generates more ridership revenue without an increase in fares or local taxes. COTA has spent the past decade listening carefully to the public and making incremental changes and adjustments to improve service.  It’s time for the central Ohio community to embrace the transformative changes COTA is considering.

We can continue to do more of the same and make small incremental changes to improve service, or we can revisit the entire system and consider a new, better way of doing things. Current projections add around 500,000 people to the region by 2050; that’s more than the populations of the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton combined. As a City we must embrace the possibilities and opportunities this creates. A new way of moving our people is one critical way must prepare for the future Columbus.

The proposed plan would be the largest modification for COTA in 40 years and will give central Ohio a solid foundation for the future. As a region we must embrace a better connected Columbus, and it starts with the TSR scenario developed by COTA and its consultant team.