Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), OH

A more-interactive customer service center

After spending $2.3 million, the Central Ohio Transit Authority now has a new Downtown lobby that resembles something like a smaller version of an airport terminal.

There’s a big digital screen overhead showing fares and in-house advertising for COTA services. There are digital kiosks from Connectpoint® showing bus arrival times with a feature that helps riders plan trips. Digital ticket machines. A high ceiling and bright lighting.

All of this, COTA officials say, is designed to create a more-interactive “customer service center” with the end goal of attracting more riders.

“One of the things in our strategic plan was to improve the customer experience,” said COTA spokesman Jeff Pullin, who likened the new space to an Apple store. “A welcoming space to provide help and assistance.”
The touch-screen digital kiosks provide riders a chance to see specific routes and projected times when buses will arrive at stops, while also giving them a way to plan their trips by providing addresses. After they have planned their trips, they can email and text schedules to themselves.

Alex Kumson Asmah, a 65-year-old native of Ghana and a hotel housekeeper who lives on the Northeast Side, bought a 31-day pass after learning how to use the new kiosk.

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