Columbia Transit launches new bus system

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:50 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 21, 2014
A bus with information about COMO Connect, Columbia's public transit system, sits outside The Central Pantry on Big Bear Boulevard.

COMO Connect will replace the city's previous “hub-and-spoke” or “orbital pulse” bus routes. Drew Brooks, the multi-modal manager for the transit system, said that an orbital pulse system is great for small cities, but not so much for a growing city like Columbia. Brooks said that under the old system, one late bus could cause every other bus to be late.

Brooks said he hoped the new system would help the transit department with their timing issues. Under the new COMO Connect system, if one bus is late, maybe one bus would have to wait on it, but the rest of the buses would not be affected.

Columbia Transit is working hard to make sure riders are aware of the changes being made. Throughout July, special classes were held at Wabash Bus Station to acquaint riders with the new routes.

Columbia Transit also held open houses at Wabash Bus Station, where people could walk in and talk to transit workers or bus drivers, who were standing by to answer any questions about the new system.

Columbia Transit also had an informational bus parking at a variety of locations around Columbia. Transit workers were on the bus, ready to answer rider’s questions about the new COMO Connect routes.

One demographic the transit system is trying to reach with their awareness campaigns are incoming MU students. Brooks said Columbia Transit was present at every Summer Welcome event.

Columbia Transit also plans to hold other events once students return to the campus. Brooks said Columbia Transit would post any announcements on its website and Twitter feed. Brooks said the department hopes students living both on and off campus would see the value in the COMO Connect bus system.

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