Council to discuss new routes, timeliness of bus system

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 6:31 p.m. CDT; updated 11:56 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 25, 2010

COLUMBIA ­ — Far more people are riding Columbia Transit buses, but that doesn't mean the system isn't without its problems, City Manager Bill Watkins said during his State of the City address on Wednesday.

City statistics project almost 2 million bus rides for fiscal year 2010. That would be a 250 percent increase from 2005.

Still, there are problems with delays on some of the routes, and bus routes don't serve all the city's key employers.

Watkins singled out the Orange South Route as the worst offender. The city's longest route at 11.4 miles, the Orange South Route is often late and delays people trying to make transfers at the Wabash Station. Bus drivers speed to make up time, Watkins said.

"Part of the solution to the orange line is to shrink the actual route itself and to come up with a second route that would tie into the orange line," Watkins said.

It would cost about $60,000 to add another route, but the city already has a bus available to serve it, Watkins said.

Shortening the Orange South Route and adding another would expand service to the Forum Boulevard, West Boulevard and Stewart Road areas. The City Council will discuss those ideas at its retreat this weekend.

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