Residents applaud bus changes

Plan calls for altering hours and routes, integration with MU
Friday, June 29, 2007 | 12:02 a.m. CDT; updated 2:32 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Columbia residents listened to and commented on the 2007 Columbia Transit draft master plan at a public hearing Thursday.

The three-phase plan proposes changes to bus hours, routes and integration with MU transportation.

Residents mostly favored the plan, calling it “ambitious.”

“The overall plan is necessary,” said resident Saleem Bilal. “The city needs some plan on the table to expand and improve transportation.”

The master plan’s intent is to increase and encourage inner-city transportation use by extending peak hours beyond the current cutoff time of 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday. The new schedule will end at 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and cut back hours Thursday through Saturday.

Several at Thursday’s hearing said they favored the integration of MU’s student transportation system with the city’s, although some expressed concerns that student fees would increase as a result.

Liz Schmidt, of Columbia, said while she liked the plan, she had one concern.

“They’re going to have to cut some things to get others,” she said.

Some people asked for details about who is eligible for Dial-A-Ride, an after-hours program that allows registered riders to reserve transportation at least one day in advance. The service would enhance paratransit and current bus routes.

Public Works and Columbia Transit officials said they would use the comment cards from Thursday’s meeting to revise the master plan for final approval by the Columbia City Council.

“I’m impressed (transportation officials) had a plan,” Schmidt said. “I’m headed to use transit in the future.”

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