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Wider bus system reaches more of Columbia

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:53 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 21, 2014

COLUMBIA — Before trying to get aboard the same bus you used in the spring, take a look at Columbia's improved and expanded bus routes.

The COMO Connect system began operating Aug. 4, bringing the benefits of public transportation to more Columbia residents. During August, rides are free of charge to all riders.

For those who have ridden the bus for years, COMO Connect was designed to reduce wait times to between 15 and 30 minutes.

Eleven new routes serve more than 700 stops, including 42 connection points at route intersections where passengers can transfer lines. The 19 COMO Connect buses run from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays.

The two main routes are the Black and Gold lines, which reach student apartment complexes on the edges of town.

  • The Black Line circulates from College Avenue and Old 63, Nifong Boulevard and Grindstone Avenue and Providence Road to Blue Ridge Road.
  • The Gold Line circulates from campus to the mall via Broadway and back by way of Worley Street and Paris Road. 

Seven neighborhood lines, numbered 3 to 9 and also color-coded, stop at schools and parks, as well as grocery stores and pharmacies. 

The 10, or Red, line circles downtown and stops at both the Boone Hospital Center and the MU Health Centers.

COMO Connect will replace the previous “hub-and-spoke” or “orbital pulse” system. Drew Brooks, the multi-modal manager for the transit system, said an orbital pulse system is great for small cities, but not so much for a growing city like Columbia.

Under the old system, one late bus could cause every other bus to be late, he said.

Brooks said the information bus would be touring Columbia until the end of August. Residents can find the location of the bus by following @Columbia_MO_Bus on Twitter.

Student semester passes are available for $100. More information on the new bus routes, schedules, fares and passes can be found at comoconnect.org.


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