Mayor to announce 'FASTCAT' transit initiative Thursday

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 3:02 p.m. CDT; updated 3:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 21, 2012

COLUMBIA — A major transit initiative, FASTCAT, will be announced by Mayor Bob McDavid on Thursday.

The announcement follows a series of public forums about restructuring Columbia’s current bus system, which has been running a deficit for the past five years.

To deal with budget limitations, the city increased bus fares by half in the fall and created the Transit System Task Force, which was intended to revitalize the financially ailing bus system.

The task force met twice before many grew dissatisfied with its progress and MU hired its own consulting firm to assess student transportation needs in January.

Since then, transit officials have sought public input and researched successful programs in other Midwestern towns with large student populations, such as Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

The city has also worked to increase ridership through promotional programs, such as Thursday’s Try Transit Day.

Columbia residents have expressed interest in more frequent shuttles, better funding and increased hours of service.

Supervising editor is Hannah Cushman.

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