COTA betting gamblers will roll with buses to casino

on Monday, 06 August 2012.


For some, casinos conjure images of Armani-clad men and Chanel-draped women rolling up to red carpets in limos and Mercedes Benzes.

But the Central Ohio Transit Authority is making available a more utilitarian mode of transportation to the Hollywood Casino Columbus that’s opening soon — city buses.

Starting on Oct. 12, four days after the casino is scheduled to open, buses will run along W. Broad Street from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The route goes through the Arena District and along W. Broad Street to the casino.

Operating the new service is expected to cost about $161,000 per year, COTA said.

“(Late-night service) is very successful, so we’re looking for other opportunities to expand that type of service to see how it works,” said Mike Bradley, director of capital projects and planning for COTA.

“Folks will be going to go out to the casino area especially as development occurs out there, but (the new services also will) attract people out in the corridor there to go Downtown.”

The line has yet to be given a name or a number.

COTA also plans to extend its No. 10 and the No. 6 bus lines to the casino during the day.

Not everyone was pleased with the news.Matt Egner, chairman of the Franklinton Area Commission, said the late-night service might end up having an adverse effect on the West Side neighborhood.

“Easier access to gambling for lower-income folks is going to increase the chances that they’re going to lose their money that they can’t afford to lose,” Egner said.

For its part, the company that operates the casino said it never approached COTA about creating a new route, but supports the new service.

“Anything that helps people get to the casino is going to help customers and probably employees too,” said Bob Tenenbaum, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming. “We’re happy to hear about it.”

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The Columbus Dispatch Saturday August 4, 2012