Modified Black, Gold city bus routes to continue past May

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | 5:27 p.m. CST; updated 4:10 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This story has been amended to clarify that Rolling Rock Town Homes has not signed a contract for new city bus service but has agreed to the city's proposal. Also, information in the story is now attributed to a report from Public Works Director John Glascock.

COLUMBIA — The Black and Gold city bus routes will continue to run after May, although they likely will look much different than they do now.

Three of the nine apartment complexes served by the routes have agreed to a new price plan proposed by the city to continue service, according to a report to the City Council from Public Works Director John Glascock. They are:

  • Grindstone Canyon
  • Gateway at Columbia
  • Campus View

Rolling Rock Town Homes, which currently receives no bus service, also has accepted the proposal.

In the agreement, the apartments will pay the city about $62 per bed each semester for bus service, Glascock said in his report. That's a much higher rate than they pay now, but it comes out to 38 cents per ride, assuming each student makes one round trip to and from campus on the bus per day, Mayor Bob McDavid said. The regular fare is $1.50.

The city will run buses directly to complexes that have signed up, shuttling students to and from MU on weekdays. Night and weekend service are not included.

“I look at that as an offer they can’t refuse,” McDavid said at Monday's meeting of the Columbia City Council. “But some of them did.”

Campus Lodge, Copper Beech and Log Hill Run refused the offer, Glascock wrote.

The Reserve at Columbia, The Cottages, The Grove and The Pointe at Rock Quarry must decide by May whether they want the new service. That's when the current service is scheduled to stop.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” McDavid said. “They may privately contract, and that’s fine.”

McDavid said he would work with Missouri Student Association President Xavier Billingsley to inform students of the situation.

“I want this stuff to be public,” McDavid said. “I think that’s the fairest thing to do for students, to help them know or encourage them to research how they’re going to get from their apartments to campus.”

City Manager Mike Matthes said that if no more apartments sign on, the city would use four buses instead of 10 to run the routes, a reflection of declining demand. He also said anyone living in the contracted apartments would be permitted to ride only the Black and Gold routes without paying the regular fare.

The city met with apartment owners on Jan. 9 and informed them that the routes would cease in May because of budget constraints unless they paid a higher rate for bus service.

The Missourian reported in September that the city was losing thousands of dollars on previous contracts for providing bus service to the apartment complexes.

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