COMO Connect may close three bus routes

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COLUMBIA - COMO Connect will propose budget cuts to the city council headlined by the possible cancellation to three different routes. Route 6, Route 7, and Route 8 are the three that will be canceled as soon as October 30th if the cuts are approved.

COMO Connect Marketing Specialist Shay Jasper said a lack of ridership is why these three routes were selected.

"In looking at transit propensity, which is basically factoring in reasons why folks use transportation, whether they have one or no cars, they have low income, and other factors, those are the areas that have some of the lowest transit propensities in the entire transit system in Columbia," she said. 

"It just made sense to focus on the system as a whole and to eliminate the routes that were underutilized," Jasper said.

Jasper said the low ridership numbers show flaws in the current system.

"Our system works on a coverage need, so we work to cover as much of Columbia as we can, and when we see those low ridership numbers that tells us that the service isn’t as great as it could be," she said.

Jasper said that there is no current plan to pick up these routes in other ways if they are canceled.

“At this time we have no other service to offer if those areas were to be eliminated thus far," she said.

“We do recognize that folks losing their transit system, they are people and we understand that. We encourage them to come to those public hearings and to be heard, but we also had to focus on the health of the entire system," Jasper said.

COMO Connect is currently working with Olsson Associates to try to figure out how to make the bus service the best it can be.

"We do have our Olsson report coming out to council soon and so those would present some other alternatives for those areas," Jasper said. '

COMO Connect also proposed changing the fee for para transit rides, its door to door service, from $2 to $3.

The city council will look at the proposal in August.