Contact: Columbia Public Works
On Monday, February 17th, Columbia's City Council will be making a decision that will affect public transportation in Columbia for years to come.
The decision comes after the City spent nearly nine months collecting customer feedback, surveying residents, hosting ward meetings, researching system designs, and laying out a transportation plan for Columbia's future. Before the decision is made, Columbia Transit staff will be presenting the new system design for bus service at Monday's public hearing. The plan includes new areas of service, new service hours, and new decentralized routes that will more efficiently serve the fast-growing city.
The City's Multi-Modal Manager, Drew Brooks played a key role in the redesign process. "The City has outgrown the current bus system. The proposed system design serves the community better today and is prepared for growth and expansion in the future," says Brooks.
The new bus system design they will be presenting calls for getting rid of the current "hub-and-spoke" or "orbital pulse" system that currently operates out of the downtown historical Wabash station and runs 40 minute routes around the city. Columbia Transit proposes replacing this current system with a series of shorter neighborhood routes that are connected by two larger core connector routes running more frequently through the heart of the city. The changes promise to shorten wait times for customers, offer better service hours, and allow customers to connect to more destinations all over the city.
Columbia residents have been closely following the transit overhaul project over the past few months and many current transit riders have offered very strong opinions on the changes. The proposed changes have already gained widespread support by transportation and disability commissions, as well as student and community groups that think the new system would be better for current customers and for attracting new customers. Those opposed to the changes voice concerns over losing the central transfer location at the Wabash Station, as well as difficulties learning a new system layout.
If implemented, the new system would be slowly rolled out in the summer of 2014, with plans to be fully operational by August 4th, 2014, just in time for students returning for the fall semester. Monday's public hearing will be during the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting at 7:00 pm in City Hall and is open to the public.