Columbia Transit held its first public information hearing on the proposed bus route changes Thursday night. A small group of residents attended the hearing to learn more about the route changes and discuss their concerns.
Proposed changes include adding a Theater Commuter Route that would run along Stadium Boulevard between Forum 8 and Hollywood Stadium 14 theaters. Plans also include creating a Brown Orbiter Route that would travel around downtown Columbia.
Changes have also been proposed for the Blue, Red, Green, Orange and Yellow routes with the goal of increasing on-time arrivals and attracting more passengers to the bus system. The buses would continue to run during the current time schedule.
Sue Long, a Job Center advisor at Advent Enterprises, said she would like to see route changes that would benefit her clientele.
"Having public transportation would open up opportunities for them," she said. "It would provide them the ability to make a living and pay taxes."
Joel Putnam, an education director at Reality House Programs echoed Long's sentiments.
"People who live in the affordable housing in the fringe areas of town are desperate for public transportation," she said. "If you provide transportation, you'll provide a tax base to Columbia."
Mark Grindstaff, public works supervisor and director of operations for Columbia Transit, said he was pleased with the turnout and the quality of the comments.
"The attendees all made valid points, I just hate to be the one that says they can't happen at this time," Grindstaff said.
Grindstaff said the proposed revisions discussed Thursday are the result of a compromise that are in line with the department's budget.
Attendee Lee Radtke said she was pleased with the proposed changes, particularly those made to the Orange Route South and the Brown Orbiter as well as with the idea of the promise of on-time arrivals.
"I don't know if I'll ever get used to the Red Route not being late," she said.
Future hearings on the proposed changes will be on March 4 at the Oak Towers, March 18 at Rockbridge High School and April 1 at Oakland Junior High School. All hearings will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
For more information on the bus route changes, visit www.gocolumbiamo.com/publicworks/transportation.