Columbia Transit Passengers Question MU Themed Buses and Fares

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COLUMBIA- Columbia City Transit charges passengers older than 18 years old $1.50 as of October 1. Those riding without a bus pass now pay three times more than they used to. Many University of Missouri students are not happy about the change.

Student Jaleeza Owens said she thinks the whole thing is a "disaster".

While waiting for his bus, one student said he bought a student semester pass to avoid the increased fees. The semester passes also increased from $60 to $100. The new prices are among many other changes to Columbia Transit. Student J.P. Burcks said while the changes are inconvenient, he will continue to ride the bus to avoid parking on campus.

Columbia City Transit's transportation supervisor Drew Brooks said the city increased fees and decreased bus service to support a dwindling budget. The city had been borrowing funds from a reserve account, but the funds would have been depleted by June without the changes.

This week, Columbia City Transit began using black and gold themed buses complete with a tiger tail and eyes. Some riders are confused how the city can afford the new buses while it tries to increase funding.

Brooks said the transit system paid for the new buses two years ago with a grant. The money was assigned to be used for capital projects and could go toward operating expenses.

"It could only be spent on buses, equipment, or amenities," Brooks said.

Brooks said the buses needed to be replaced, and the paint scheme did not increase the price. The city will replace six more buses next year.