COLUMBUS, Ohio — COTA today announced the availability of Connector, an important enhancement in how riders can access COTA service without cash or a traditional bus pass. Customers can set up an account to electronically transfer any amount of money from their bank or credit card to a Connector account, and board COTA using the Connector App or a “smart” card. The Connector App can be downloaded to mobile devices from the Apple Store and Google Play.

“The Connector App and Connector Smart Card are the first phase in offering a quicker and easier boarding and payment process for new or occasional COTA customers,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, COTA President and CEO. “We are dedicated to improving our customer experience and increase access to mobility options, and Connector does both. As an innovative transit agency, we aim to embrace technology to deliver an easy-to-use, reliable and convenient experience.”

To utilize the service, customers create an account on or directly in the Connector App, and load money electronically using either a credit card, debit card or a direct withdrawal from a bank or credit union. By linking their Connector account to a bank, credit union or credit card, money can be automatically loaded to a rider’s Connector Smart Card of Connector App as well.

Riders can then use the Connector App, scanning it on the bus fare box and money is deducted from the account to pay for the ride. Alternatively, those who don’t have a mobile device or don’t want to use a mobile app can instead get a Connector Smart Card at COTA’s temporary sales office at 35 E. Rich Street, or order one on to have it mailed to them directly. Riders then “tap” that card on the fare box to pay the fare.

For more information on how to set up and use the Connector App and Connector Smart Card, view the video at

Daily and regular riders currently using a bus pass should continue to use the 31-Day Pass to receive the best fares. This iteration of the Connector Smart Card and Connector App is aimed at introducing mobile and cashless payments to the central Ohio community.

COTA’s next phase of the system will offer best fare capabilities, providing convenient and cost-effective options for daily riders. Once complete, it is COTA’s goal to establish the national standard for transit systems using mobile app and cashless payments.