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COLUMBIA — The leader for the PedNet Coalition expressed support for Mayor Bob McDavid's FastCAT proposal Friday.
Ian Thomas, executive director of the group that seeks increased walking, bicycling and public transportation in Columbia, favors the overall strategy of the proposed bus route. McDavid's plan "identifies the biggest and best potential market: students," Thomas said.
The route, which was proposed Thursday, includes 11 stops through MU and downtown Columbia.
Third Ward councilman Gary Kespohl said the route would be a positive innovation for the transit system.
The rest of Columbia’s bus routes should intersect with the FastCAT route, he said. On-campus students could then take the FastCAT to connect to other routes.
Individual students could buy a FastCAT pass for $100 per semester, under the proposed plan. Apartment complexes and other groups also have the option of purchasing a pass at a reduced rate, according to previous Missourian reporting.
But the proposed route could also benefit non-students, Thomas said.
"It could provide a great service to non-students. They could park in city garages ... and then use the bus for errands, meetings and whatever else they have in the downtown and campus area," Thomas said.
Second Ward councilman Michael Trapp supports the proposal as well.
"Anything we can do to create a culture where people aren't driving everywhere is good," he said.
The route should eventually expand to include stops such as Stephens College, Trapp said. However, Thomas said he likes the focused route the mayor outlined.
"We should focus on the student market first and then strengthen the system to improve the service for the whole city of Columbia," Thomas said.
If implemented, the route would need to be marketed well and include signs and clearly marked bus stops, Thomas said.
“If marketed properly, I think it could be a smashing success,” Kespohl said.