The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) provides public transportation within Central Ohio and the Greater Columbus area. With a service area of 1.2 million residents, COTA provides more than 19 million passenger trips annually.
Several COTA routes provide service between Ohio State's campus and locations throughout Columbus. Ohio State's Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) and COTA share multiple bus stops on campus, allowing for easy transfers between the two systems.
Thanks to the OSU/COTA partnership, undergraduate, graduate and professional students have unlimited access to COTA’s entire bus system just by swiping their BuckID when boarding. You must be enrolled in the current semester on main campus and have the COTA fee on your statement of account to use your BuckID on COTA.
Visit COTA(link is external) for information about routes and schedules.
Faculty and Staff
The Ohio State University offers a COTA Bus Pass Payroll Deduction Program for all faculty and staff members who are eligible for pre-tax payroll deduction. Under the program, employees may elect to have unlimited monthly COTA bus access through a pre-tax payroll deduction taken from their pay each month. Once enrolled and the first payment/deduction is complete, the program works by having participating employees use their BuckID for access by swiping it upon entrance to the COTA bus.
Faculty and staff receive a $4 discount through payroll deduction which will also be assessed pre-tax.
How to Participate
All employees wishing to participate must use the Employee Self Service(link is external) (please see "COTA Bus" under the "Benefits" section) via Ohio State to elect to have a pre-tax deduction taken from their pay each month for access to Local COTA routes.
Biweekly Employees: The deadline for biweekly employees to sign up is the 7th of the month prior to the month the employee wishes to start the program. The employee will need to not only sign up prior to the 7th of the month, but also will need to enter a Deduction Start Date prior to the 7th of the month. If both conditions are met, the COTA bus access deduction will come out of the second paycheck of the month and the staff member will be eligible to ride the bus the following month.
Monthly Employees: The deadline for monthly employees to sign up is the 15th of the month prior to the month the employee wishes to start the program. The employee will need to not only sign up prior to the 15th of the month, but will also need to enter a Deduction Start Date prior to the 15th of the month. If both conditions are met, the COTA bus access deduction will come out of the employee's monthly paycheck and the employee will be eligible to ride the bus the following month.
Once enrolled in the program, the deduction will continue until the employee stops the deduction.
To terminate participation in the COTA Bus Pass Payroll Deduction Program, the employee will need to access the COTA Bus section on the Employee Self Service webpage and enter a Deduction Stop Date to end the deduction. The same deadline dates apply (the 7th of the month prior for biweekly employees; the 15th of the month prior for monthly employees) for ending participation as did when starting participation in the program.
Please note that tax laws do not permit any refund of the pre-tax deduction. If the employee misses the deadline to end participation in the program, the deduction will still occur. The employee will continue to have access to COTA the month following the deduction. No refunds will be given under any circumstance.