COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Columbus business group plans to offer free bus passes to around 43,000 downtown workers to help alleviate parking woes.

The Columbus Dispatch reports ( ) Capital Crossroad's board voted Wednesday to offer free passes starting next June to people working in office buildings, hotels, restaurants and other commercial businesses inside downtown's special improvement district.

Crossroads' Executive Director Cleve Ricksecker says employers complain the lack of parking hurts their ability to attract workers. The group expects as many as 5,000 workers will participate and free up 2,400 parking spaces a day, the equivalent of four parking garages.

Ricksecker says the $5 million cost will be covered by assessments, grants and fundraising.

Columbus' transit authority agreed to discount the cost of an annual pass from $744 to $40.50 for the program.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,