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Columbia transit commission discusses ways to attract more bus riders

Columbia’s Public Transit Advisory Commission is exploring ways to try to get more people to ride the city’s bus system.

Katherine Lee, the commission’s vice chair, said she thinks some people aren’t aware of the benefits to the bus system, such as people under 18 can ride for free.

“Some people might not understand about the bus system or might not think it’s as convenient or nice, but we have great buses here,” she said.

The group also discussed the idea of allowing veterans to ride the bus for free to attract more riders.

“Maybe we could see it start out in a small way maybe with Veterans Day free rides or Memorial Day, but that is something we’ll definitely take a look at in the future,” Lee said.

Lee said the commission also discussed writing an opinion editorial piece to address concerns from the Columbia community about the bus system.

Transit and Parking Manager Drew Brooks gave an update at Thursday’s meeting about the new bus routes that went into effect last month.

The city cut the pink and dark green route to help try to balance the city’s budget.

Brooks told the group the changes were going well and reported at least three people were calling to use the new flex routes. He said the biggest complaint since the changes were that the new bus route maps weren’t out yet.

Lee said those maps should be ready by the end of the month.

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