(March 16, 2020) Columbia, SC – Out of concern for the safety of the riding and general public, The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) has taken additional measures to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from affecting our passengers, drivers, employees and assets. The COMET is coordinating information with and taking direction from the Federal Transit Association (FTA), The Governor’s Office/Taskforce, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), SC State Department of Transportation (SCDOT), Richland County and City of Columbia. Effective immediately, in addition to previously enacted safeguards, the following measures have been implemented:
- The COMET has increased the frequency of bio-clean disinfection of its fleet to nightly as well as augmented the cleaning of The COMET Central transit center to every 30 minutes.
- The COMET will suspend service of the downtown circular, The Soda Cap Connector buses and trolleys beginning, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17.
- All service will move from a normal schedule to a Saturday schedule beginning Thursday, March 19.
- DART services will still be available to those individuals needing paratransit. However, The COMET requests that appointments be limited to only essential travel (i.e., physician visits, pharmacy, grocery, etc.).
- The COMET also requests that any trips on fixed route service be limited to essential travel (work, medical, grocery, etc.), and that any passengers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms refrain from traveling on public transit.
- Those passengers needing bus passes are encouraged to purchase them online at www.catchTheCOMET.org or through The COMET app.
“Consideration for the health and safety of our passengers, operators and the general public will drive our decision making during this crisis. We also recognize that we are the lifeline transportation source for many people in the Midlands,” said LeRoy DesChamps, Director of Operations/COO. “For those who must travel, we are doing all we can to make their trips as safe as possible by following directives from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).”
These precautions will be in effect until further notice. Any new information will be released contingent upon updates from the governor’s office or the White House.
About The COMET: The COMET is a service of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority and provides countywide public transit services on 34 fixed routes, five ReFlex services, vanpool service for commuters, subsidy programs with Uber and Lyft and DART for transportation to grocery stores and at night, ADA complementary paratransit service throughout Richland and eastern Lexington Counties and eight Blue Bike bikeshare stations in Downtown Columbia. The COMET transports approximately 2.8 million passenger trips a year on a fleet of more than 80 buses, vans and trolleys. Transit services are provided under contract with Transdev, Enterprise Holdings, Lyft, Uber and Bewegen. For additional The COMET information, please call (803) 255-7100, TDD/TTY: 711 through the relay service, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.catchthecomet.org.
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