New arrivals in Columbus will most likely need a car to get by due to the city’s limited public transport infrastructure which consists only of buses, a bikeshare scheme and taxis. Surprisingly for a city of its size, there are no trains or trams in Columbus. In fact, it’s the largest city in the US without any form of rail infrastructure.
The city is far from compact, and its vast layout certainly complicates matters of public transport, making driving a much simpler option.
Public transport in Columbus
Buses in Columbus are run by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). There are more than 400 buses across 41 bus routes. The bus system transports about 19 million passengers a year.
There are several special services available including express routes, night services and airport connectors. There is also a free downtown circulator and a bus rapid transit route. All buses have free WiFi onboard.
A COTA Connector smartcard can be used to pay for bus fare, or tickets can be bought onboard with exact change.
Taxis in Columbus
There are numerous private cab companies operating in Columbus. Reputable cab companies include Express Cab of Columbus and Columbus Taxi Service. Reservations can be made online or by phone. Ride-hailing applications are also popular, with the most prominent being Uber and Lyft.
Driving in Columbus
Most new arrivals in Columbus will come to realise that their own set of wheels is a necessity. Those with a driver’s licence from another state or country are usually allowed to drive in the US, as long as their licence remains valid. Those with licences in languages other than English should obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before the move.
Once a resident of Ohio, drivers should visit the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles in order to obtain a local driver’s licence.
Cycling in Columbus
The popularity of cycling is on the rise in Columbus as the local authorities are moving towards making Columbus more bicycle friendly with the creation of road facilities such as protected bike lanes and turn boxes.
Those who aren’t quite ready to commit to owning a bike can make use of the CoGo BikeShare service, which consists of over 600 bikes at more than 70 stations across Columbus.
►Learn about the city's neighbourhoods with Areas and Suburbs in Columbus
Are you an expat living in Columbus?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Columbus. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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