Contact: Columbia Public Works
For over a year the city has been talking about the new COMO Connect bus system that will be changing public transportation in Columbia, and it's finally time for customers to hop on board and try it out. The new COMO Connect routes will be introduced to the public for the first time next week so customers can get a real taste of the new connection-based system before it fully replaces the current Columbia Transit routes in less than two weeks.
The first step of introducing the new routes starts on Monday, July 28th when the two core connector routes will start offering service from 6:30am-6:00pm. These two routes, known as the Black and Gold connectors, will be the highest frequency routes in the new system offering travel in both directions along the routes that run large north/south and east/west loops respectively through the heart of the city. Customers will use these connectors on a regular basis to get across town and to connect to other neighborhood routes throughout the city.
The seven smaller neighborhood routes will be the next part of the COMO Connect system to be phased in, with shorter 10am-2pm hours starting Wednesday July 30th. The network of neighborhood routes consists of smaller loops that travel in a single direction with less frequency and allow customers better access to destinations a little closer to their home. The neighborhood routes also include some outlying neighborhoods that aren't currently covered in the Columbia Transit routes such as Lake of the Woods and Scott Boulevard.
Also starting on Wednesday, will be the new downtown route that will effectively replace the current downtown FastCAT route that ends Tuesday July 29th. The new route for downtown will offer customers better access to all three major colleges, hospitals, and grocery shopping.
The full COMO Connect system and new service hours will go live on Monday August 4th, including a new commuter route in north Columbia. The commuter route will offer four daily trips for customers living as far north as Prathersville Road, which is also a brand new area of service for the transit system.
As with all new beginnings, the community must say goodbye to the current Columbia Transit routes after next week. Starting Monday, August 4th, the current Columbia Transit 102, 103, 104, 105, and 107 routes will stop running and will be fully replaced by the new COMO Connect routes. To celebrate the switch over, the city will be hosting a free launch party on Saturday August 2nd from 10am-12pm on Rollins, in front of the MU Student Center. The family-friendly event will be a community fair for customers to come out and enjoy free refreshments and learn about the new bus routes. There will be lots of great information for people interested in starting to ride public transportation and how to navigate the new system. Children can enjoy crafts and games at the Kidz Corner and there will be lots of prizes and raffles to give away throughout the event. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce will be helping with an official ribbon cutting at 11am to launch the new system.
The city is also helping customers with the transition by letting all customers ride the bus for free for the entire month of August. The free rides are intended to make the transition easier for current riders, and encourage new riders to try the system at no cost. Customers can pick up maps and schedules of the new routes at the Wabash Bus Station, City Hall, or at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, or online at www.COMOconnect.org.