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CMAX Enters Service in Columbus

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus introduced service Jan. 1 on CMAX, the first BRT line in central Ohio, followed by a community celebration later in the week.

COTA Interim President/Chief Executive Officer Emille Williams called CMAX “a brand new way for COTA to provide public transportation in our growing region,” adding, “CMAX represents an investment in your community, and for us at COTA it’s about public transit making a difference in our lives and neighborhoods.”

The high-frequency service covers 15.6 miles on Cleveland Avenue between downtown Columbus and the Ohio Health Westerville Medical Campus, operating limited-stop service on part of the route and enhanced local bus service on the rest. Amenities include free on-board Wi-Fi and access to USB charging ports, enhanced passenger stations with real-time information screens, and buses that sync with traffic signals to stay on time.

Funding for the $48.6 ­million project included $37.4 million from FTA and $11.2 million in local funds. COTA purchased 15 specially branded BRT coaches powered by CNG for the service. The CMAX project also included the construction of more than 60 enhanced passenger stations as well as a transit center and park-and-ride that will open later in the year. More than 30 of the stations on the CMAX line feature artwork produced by local artists.

Mascots welcoming CMAX BRT in Columbus, from left: LouSeal and Krash the parrot, representing the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team; Art Shark, mascot for the Columbus Arts Festival; and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hired by COTA for the community launch celebration.

Photo by Toiana Almon at Shellee Fisher Photography

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