Frequent rider says new bus routes are worse

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COLUMBIA - Kelly Johnson will speak before the city council meeting Monday about her concerns with the new CoMo Connect bus routes. 

Johnson relies on public transportation due to a medical challenge. Her epilepsy makes it illegal for her to drive on her own. She said she has ridden Columbia's buses for nearly 17 years, and the latest routes are the worst she's ever seen. 

"They took a lot of the routes away, which jepordized a lot of people I know on the city bus, and myself," Johnson said. "We have to walk further, we have to wait longer, and it's just - it's wrong."

Johnson said the new routes, by design, do not stop at Wahash Station. Instead of riding to the station and from there getting on the bus to work, she has to ride multiple buses and wait at uncovered bus stops between rides. 

She also said the new routes mean her pick-up and drop-off points are further away from her home and work. 

"It's not even safe there for people to stand on the side of the street," Johnson said, refering to a Rangeline bus stop. "There's just a bus stop; the old-time bus poles indicating what bus comes there, what color, but nothing about the times. There's not even a phone number," Johnson said. 

Johnson said she never experienced these issues with the old bus system, and said Wabash Station was intened as a shelter between rides, and cutting it out of many bus routes defeats it's purpose. 

"The old schedule was every 20 minutes," Johnson said, refering to the time between buses at her stop. "We actually had a place to go sit inside during hot or cold weather...the buses were on the same schedule and there was a place for us to go."