45,000 to get free city bus service to work daily in Columbus


Associated Press

COLUMBUS

Tens of thousands of workers in downtown Columbus will be eligible for free bus passes under an innovative program aimed at boosting bus usage to address traffic and parking issues in Ohio’s capital city.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority approved what’s known as CPASS on Wednesday. The $4.5 million program launches June 1 and lasts 31 months.

Organizers say the program’s funding arrangement makes it unique nationally. It was conceived by the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District downtown, whose member property owners have agreed to self-assessments totaling $1.3 million to help cover the costs of free passes for 45,000 eligible workers.

The transit authority will receive another $2.8 million through a federal grant received by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and $400,000 from participating employers located just outside the district.

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