Residents weigh in ahead of transit hearing

Columbia's CoMo Connect bus plan comes up for a public hearing Monday. Riders say the plan looks good but still needs some work.

People who use Columbia's bus system said Sunday they liked the city's planned overhaul but thought it still needed a few tweaks.

The project known as CoMo Connect is up for a public hearing before the Columbia City Council on Monday night. The hearing comes after months of input meetings and survey research into how to improve the city's bus system.

Currently, Columbia Transit buses run on routes that start and end at Wabash Station on 10th Street. Residents have long criticized the system as inefficient and inadequate. Under the system sketched out in CoMo Connect documents, city buses would circulate continually along one of ten different routes. Seven routes would serve different neighborhoods around Columbia, with buses running in 30-minute intervals. These neighborhood routes would be linked by a pair of connector routes, one running from north to south, the other from east to west. Buses along those routes would run in 15-minute intervals. In addition, a bus would circulate continually through downtown. Buses would also serve a commuter route along Rangeline and Prathersville Road four times a day.

Christoper Seip, who is currently living in Columbia and relies heavily on public transit, said CoMo Connect is a vast improvement over the existing system.

"From what I can see, it's gonna help a lot more people out. It's gonna get out to the lower-income sections of Columbia," he said.

Still, he said the plan needed some work. Seip, who told KRCG 13 he has a heart condition, said it would help if stops were placed closer together, especially considering recent below-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall. He also said he hoped bus stops would include benches and windbreaks. Jordan Thompson, a Boonville resident who has several friends in Columbia, said he was concerned there may be too many stoplights along the bus routes. He said this could be problematic for people on a schedule.

CoMo Connect is up for a public hearing at Monday night's regular city council meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Columbia City Hall on Broadway.