The City of Columbus is more connected today with the addition of a new bus line, called CMAX.
CMAX is the first of its kind. The rapid transit line connects riders from the downtown area, all the way up to Westerville at Polaris Parkway and Africa Road, along Cleveland Avenue.
The route is intended to bring communities together and give various neighborhoods better access to the rest of Columbus.
In fact, it links 211,000 residents and 170,000 employees to jobs, healthcare and education.
For the first week of 2018, CMAX is free to the public.
“Whether you’re staying home from work due to the holiday, or the cold or you have kids home from school still, it’s a great opportunity to get out and explore the community; explore the different things along Cleveland Avenue,” said Lisa Myers, COTA public and media relations manager. “I hear there are some wonderful restaurants along Cleveland Avenue so it could be a good time of year to try those out and just try out the new service for free on COTA.”
What makes this new bus service unique is how fast it is.
The new bus is expected to get riders to their destinations 20 percent faster because of limited stops, dedicated lanes on High Street during rush hours and new technologies, such as traffic signal priority.
The buses are also equipped with WIFI, real-time information screens and USB ports to charge devices.
Along with those features, 31 of the bus stations along the corridor are decorated with art developed by local artists.
10TV rode on the CMAX alongside Doug Arseneault, COTA public affairs administrator, to experience the new route.
“We’re a part of this community,” Arseneault said. “They invest in us every day, you know, we’re funded by sales tax revenue so it’s really about giving back.”
Several people riding the CMAX for the first time told 10TV they are pleased with the new service and appreciate the week of free rides.
“I think if the service is faster than the other service, it’s going to be good for the city in general,” Bob Hall said. “Get people to work on time.”
The total cost of the project was $48 million, but COTA leaders told 10TV $38 million was covered by the government.
Anyone can learn more about the new CMAX bus line and enjoy some food and activities at the CMAX Community Celebration on Jan. 6. The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Linden STEM Academy.
Free rides on CMAX will last through Jan. 7 before fares kick in, costing passengers $2 per ride.
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