Last meeting on Columbia bus route changes scheduled Monday night

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COLUMBIA - Changes are coming to Columbia’s bus routes in a few weeks, and the city’s Public Transit Advisory Commission will hold its last informational meeting Monday night to explain them.

This public meeting is the last of eight that were held over about a month. The purpose is to give bus riders and other Columbia residents a chance to ask questions about the changes, which were approved by city council in 2018.

Leah Christian, the Transit and Parking Manager, said the changes came from a series of recommendations in a consultant report looking at Columbia’s transit system.

“There was no central transfer point,” Christian said. “There was no safe, warm place for people to make transfers.”

Starting June 3rd, the Wabash station will serve as a central transfer point for all Columbia buses. The buses will arrive at Wabash at the same time, and then riders will have five minutes to make any necessary transfers.

At a previous informational meeting, Christian addressed concerns about buses running late and causing riders to miss their transfer.

“We have so much new technology and communication tools now that we think are really going to improve that,” Christian said.

Arnold Larson, a frequent bus rider, attended the April 18th meeting to voice his support for the changes.

“I’m here to support our buses,” Larson said. “I use them every day. I use them for volunteering and food pantries. They help me a lot.”

However, the changes aren’t popular with everyone.

“After the route changes I'll have to take two buses to get to the store,” said James Murrey, another Columbia bus rider. “I take one bus now. It'll take me an extra hour of riding to go shopping. I don't see this as an improvement."

Christian encourages riders to attend the last meeting to share thoughts with their city council representative. She said they’ve tried to have a meeting in every ward - with Monday’s meeting being in the fourth.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.