Public transportation complaints spark new study group

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COLUMBIA - The Consultant Volunteer Study Group formed Thursday to address community complaints about Columbia's public transportation system.

The Columbia City Council hired Olsson Associates to collect data on various issues customers have complained about including route locations, wait times and ADA compliance. 

The council appointed the group in January but started working on the data in March.

Columbia Public Transit Advisory Commission's Cheryl Price said people became concerned when they didn't hear anything from the consultants, and they were worried work wasn't being done with their tax dollars.

"People have told us that they would like to see hours extended. They would like to see Sunday service, you know all of that will come after we get this market analysis," said Price. 

In response to the concerns, the study group was formed. 

The consultants will look into ways to make improvements with the budget already in place. 

"We don't know if there would be any expansion capabilities in that or not, but possibility could be changes that would make the system run better," said Price. 

The reason the community hasn't been informed of data thus far is because the consultants haven't finished analyzing and collecting the data yet, Price said.

"We haven't been doing a good job with getting information out there, because gathering and analyzing data like I said isn't real exciting stuff to put out there," Price said. 

The study group wants to communicate better, by informing community members on social media. 

Price said the data will become available to the study group in late June.