New routes proposed for Columbia's bus system

Saturday, June 5, 2010 | 6:11 p.m. CDT; updated 11:03 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 25, 2010

LAKE OF THE OZARKS — The director of Columbia's Public Works Department has proposed a series of route changes, extensions and additions to Columbia's transit system.

Public Works Director John Glascock presented the proposed changes during the Saturday morning session at the Columbia City Council's annual retreat. Saturday was the final day of the retreat that began Thursday evening.

Funding for the plan would have to be approved by the council. The plan includes adding service to Forum Boulevard and to LeMone Industrial Boulevard, the site of the new IBM service delivery center. Changing the Saturday schedule to mirror the weekday schedule is another aspect.

“We’re trying to serve more of Columbia,” Glascock said.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said people have been unable to pursue jobs on LeMone Industrial Boulevard because they don’t have the transportation to get there. The expansion of one route would also service Lenoir Road and the Lenoir Retirement Community, which wants buses, Hoppe said.

Another route would also be expanded to serve Boone Hospital, all university and downtown parking garages and Paquin Tower.

Mayor Bob McDavid asked if the changes to the bus system would increase students' access to MU, but Glascock said the proposal was focused on giving residents better access to jobs.

Glascock said the expansion would cost $67,000 but the cost could be offset by increases in advertising revenue potentially exceeding $60,000.

City Manager Bill Watkins said the $67,000 price tag would be covered by adding new riders. $67,000 is only a few hundred additional riders a day, Watkins said.

"I believe with better service, maybe not the first year but in a year or two, we'll get there," Watkins said.

Glascock said he hopes to complete the changes by the time classes start in the fall.

There will be additional costs to changing the routes, Watkins said. Bus shelters and benches will have to be moved to match the new routes.

"We will need a massive education campaign in the next couple months," Watkins said.

Watkins said subsidies for the bus system come from the same source as those for street capital improvements and the Columbia Regional Airport. He said the city would be able to make that money back by investing in the bus system in the long term.

“I think it's a very good plan,” Watkins said.

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Carlos Sanchez June 6, 2010 | 7:22 a.m.

There are two buses that cover Boone Hospital now. The Red East(104e) and the Brown Route(106 Downtown orbiter)that stop right at Boone Hospital. The Red West (104w)when it turns South onto old 63 stops three blocks from Boone Hospital on the South side. Even the Green East(103e)
gets with in two blocks of the Boone Complex. There are bus routes now that either go by or are with in one block of every parking garage downtown. There are two bus lines that run at Paquin Tower,the Red West(104w)that stops in front of Paquin Tower and the Brown Route(106Downtown orbiter)that stops one block away at Mathews and University. Now they want to add a third line for both Boone Hospital and Paquin Tower if I am reading this right?

Doesn't Glascock,Watkins or McDavid know how to read the City Bus Schedule as it is now? If not get a lesson please!

If they really want to do something start Saturday Service at 9am instead of later and add Sunday Service from 8am to 6pm ie: one bus for each route running on the hourly schedule,not two buses per route like run on Saturday and extend Monday to Wednesday to 8pm.

Yes Forum desperately has needed a bus line for years which is good to see they are finally looking at. It is too bad 3M and Square D are not up to full operation anymore or some other company would take over their spots then you would need a bus line out that way too. Maybe someday in the far future. Would be nice to see the bus line extended out to the newest Mosers on Rangeline as well since that area is growing fast. Once again maybe in the future planning of things.

(Report Comment)
Timothy Rice June 6, 2010 | 9:31 a.m.

The Downtown Orbitor is proposed to be expanded to a slightly longer route. It would add coverage to Hinkson Avenue, Boone Hospital Plazas, Paquin Street, Conley Road, 9th Street, Hitt Street between University Avenue and Cherry Street, and Cherry Street between 6th to Hitt Street covering all parking garages and Walnut between 5th and 10th.

The one proposed deletion for the Orbitor is Maryland Avenue.

I hope that clarifies things.

You can see all the proposed route changes in the City Council Retreat Documents. Or check the maps linked on the sidebar.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez June 6, 2010 | 10:49 a.m.

Thank you for the link. I see a real mess for some but more access for all. MMMmmm a trade off yes but...

I really hope they thought about how this effects those in power wheel chairs,scooters and the times they will be needing to transfer plus the times for the drivers to hook and unhook these special needs passengers.

Will the short City Buses still be adequate for the Brown(106) now? Sometimes during school that bus is packed tight.

Maybe McDavid,Watkins,Glascock and St. Romaine should get themselves into a powered wheel chair that fits them and go for a ride on their transit system and see ALL of the challenges these special needs citizens face daily on the bus lines. I am sure United Seating or D&W Auto would loan them the equipment needed for this venture. I am also sure the City has an extra bus they could use just for this venture too. They need to see and experience all of this themselves in real time from the patron's point of view.

Our City Officials obviously need more hands on and more real life experiences in knowing how it feels to be disabled and or wheel chair bound as it relates to getting around Columbia daily.

Thank you for the link once again.

(Report Comment)

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