Columbia Transit wins award for increased ridership

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | 6:14 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 3, 2011

COLUMBIA — Columbia Transit won its third award since 2007 on Monday for a 5.5 percent increase in ridership — the largest among urban transit providers in Missouri from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010.

But last week, City Manager Mike Matthes proposed $1.4 million in cuts over the next two years to bus services despite a 35 percent total increase in ridership since 2006, according to city spokesperson Jill Stedem.

Other transit providers eligible for the award

  • Bi-State Development Agency of St. Louis
  • City of Jefferson
  • City Utilities of Springfield
  • Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
  • St. Joseph Transit

Criteria for the award were based on the urban transit provider with the highest percentage increase in ridership from the previous year, according to the Federal Transit Administration.


Ridership has increased because of the addition of more bus routes in August 2010 and more people taking the buses to work and school because of rising fuel costs, Stedem said. The city doubled bus fares to combat inflation in October 2008, but public transit is still cheaper for most people, she said.

The City Council will first meet Aug. 15 to discuss the public transportation cuts and other budget changes proposed by Matthes on July 29.

The cuts would:

  • Increase full and half fares, paratransit fares and the cost of semester passes for students.
  • Reduce eligibility for half fares while still adhering to federal requirements. Currently, 70 percent of riders are half-fare riders, Stedem said.
  • Eliminate evening services Thursday through Saturday.
  • Reduce Saturday service by one trip. Miles would be dropped from the 209 black route, 104SE route and the 207 West Gold Route.

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Paul Allaire August 3, 2011 | 10:50 p.m.

I have a better idea. Continue increasing the ridership instead.

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