Thanks to Downtown property owners and community partners, Downtown C-pass offers unlimited access to COTA for free to eligible Downtown employees. There’s no cost to individual businesses.

Companies must be within the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District eligibility area (Map here)

get ready

  • Designate a company representative to manage the C-pass benefit.
  • Contact C-pass staff to schedule an informational meeting (optional).

get enrolled

  • Create an account on the secure member portal.
  • Sign up employees with their choice of COTA credential.
  • Schedule informational session for employees (optional).

Get going

  • Verify eligible employees once a month.
  • Give C-pass information to new employees
  • Delete ineligible employees from member portal.

Questions? See our FAQ or Contact Us to get started!

employer resources

Employer Agreement

Participating employers must agree to the terms & conditions of the employer program agreement.

Credential Options

Employees may choose their type of pass.

Employee introduction

One-page overview for new hires and interested employees.

cota information

Plan trips, see route maps and schedules, and stay up to date on service changes at COTA's site.

ACcount manager guide

Complete program information for company account managers.

Downloading the app

Mobile app download instructions for Androids and iPhones.

commute calculator

From GOhio, to explore your commuting options ( and time and money savings)!

employer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

You can view eligible buildings here (Eligibility Map). Companies register employees who work in eligible buildings. Contact us at info@downtowncpass.com or (614) 591-4184 if you have more questions.

There is no cost to the employer or employee. It’s funded by Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District property owners and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. 

Companies administer the benefit to employees. First, designate an account manager within your company. Then, have the chosen Company Account Manager create an online account here. You’ll upload eligible employees and select COTA credentials. Once you’re up and running, you’ll add new employees and delete those who leave your company.  Please also review the C-pass Employer Agreement. Contact us at info@downtowncpass.com or (614) 591-4184 if you have more questions.

Employees must be assigned to a work site in the eligibility area. There are no minimum hours required. Interns are also eligible.

Yes. You can either administer the benefit or their employer can. Please have the contract employer contact program staff at (614) 591-4184 or info@downtowncpass.com for more information.

Yes, the C-pass requires a special credential, and there are three different options. Employees may only have one at a time; however, they can change their credential choice by contacting the program staff at any time. 

The smartphone app works with Androids and iPhone 7’s and later. Unfortunately, it will not work with Windows phones at this time. Employees may download it on either work-issued or personal cell phones.

Your designated Company Account Manager needs to login and deactivate the associate by deleting them from the member portal. The Account Manager will receive a reminder email once a month to verify eligible employees in the member portal.

Yes, the C-pass is an unlimited pass good on all COTA routes any time, any day of the year.

That includes all regular lines and special routes like the CMAX, AirConnect from downtown to John Glenn International Airport and Zoo Bus from downtown to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

C-pass even covers bus fares for OSU football service from the Park & Rides at Ohio State Fairgrounds or Crosswoods to the Horseshoe on game day!

Yes.  The Downtown C-pass includes paratransit services if the rider meets disability requirements. The rider will need both a C-pass and a Mainstream pass issued by COTA. Contact program staff for more information. 

Yes! The passes are free to your company and employee, so why not? Program staff is happy to help new riders become more familiar with commuting options. And just because employees get a pass doesn’t mean they must use it every day.

The CBUS Circulator is a great way to try the bus. It’s a free circulator that runs up and down High Street between the Brewery District/German Village and the Short North. Hop on for a lunch outing to the Short North—it runs every 10-15 minutes.

See if you have an internal commuting champion. This person might already ride the bus, bike or walk, and can encourage others to try it out and help answer questions.

You can also schedule an orientation for your employees with C-pass staff to discuss all kinds of commuting options.

Gohio Commute offers Emergency Ride Home, which provides up to four free taxi rides per year for just these reasons. Create your account now to be prepared in case of emergency (Register Here). Make sure you check the box which reads “I would like to participate in the Guaranteed/Emergency Rise Home program” on the last step of registration.

Visit Gohio Commute for more information and a complete list of resources or contact MORPC (the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) with questions or to request a customized (and complimentary) commuting options consultation.

Downtown property owners in the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District recognized the parking crunch was impeding Downtown development. Without a feasible or cost-effective parking solution, the owners turned to transit to help ease the parking woes. A 2015 study revealed transit ridership nearly doubled when employees were given access to a free transit pass.

Property owners and community partners launched the Downtown C-pass in 2018 to help bring more jobs downtown, stabilize low-wage positions and shift attitudes and behaviors toward commuting in Columbus. Because of its success and impact, property owners renewed the program for an additional five years beginning in 2021. 

The program is currently funded through December 31, 2025.

Promotional Materials

Digital Graphics

Show your C-pass pride!


New riders share their stories.

printable posters

For hotels, restaurants, or offices.


How-to-Ride and more!