Tri-Village News

COTA line through Grandview may be axed

Low ridership cited, but city says local route is important


COTA is considering whether to eliminate the No. 19 bus route that moves passengers on weekday mornings and afternoons from Upper Arlington through Marble Cliff and Grandview to downtown Columbus.

"This is just a proposal; nothing has been decided yet," said COTA spokesman Marty Stutz.

Since February, COTA has been conducting a comprehensive review of its existing bus routes to determine "the best use of our resources to meet the needs of the community," Stutz said.

Some routes may be eliminated or reduced while others may be added or increased, he said.

The No. 19 route is being considered for elimination in part because of often-low ridership levels, Stutz said.

In the morning, as few as two people ride the bus during certain route times, although the number of riders can grow to as many as 14, he said.

On a typical afternoon, ridership falls to as few as four people but can reach a peak of around 18, Stutz said.

"It's only a five-day-a-week route that runs five or six times in the morning and four to six times at the end of the day," he said.

The route is a "heritage route" that has seen decreased ridership due in part to changes in population and shifts in the job market, Stutz said.

A final decision regarding No. 19 is expected to be made in September. The route would not be eliminated until at least 2015, possibly as late as 2017, should that be the decision, he said.

COTA plans to increase service on two nearby bus lines that will be able to serve riders if the No. 19 route is eliminated, Stutz said.

Those routes are No. 3 along Northwest Boulevard and No. 5 on West Fifth Avenue.

City officials are not pleased that No. 19 may be eliminated, said Grandview City Council member Chris Smith, who serves as council's liaison to COTA.

"It's the only bus that goes from Grandview to downtown," said Smith, who added he rides the No. 19 bus at least twice a week. "They say there's low ridership, but it always seems to be pretty full of people when I ride it."

The bus line is especially important given that the Grandview Yard development is expected to bring more people to the community, he said.

Smith said he and other city officials will meet later this month with COTA representatives.