CATCH THE COMET: Lower Richland residents share concerns and comments about transportation service at town hall
HOPKINS, SC (WOLO) — According to the the COMET’s website, the transportation service takes 2.8 million passengers annually to a central Midlands destination.
However, The Central Midlands Transit service would like to improve on helping residents get to where they need to go.
“What I’ve learned more than anything else is that education, healthcare and economic empowerment is a way that transportation can bridge the gap. We’re really committed to making sure individuals have access,” said COMET CEO Derrick Huggins.
The COMET service hopes to better serve the Lower Richland community in the future.
“Looking at this as a whole, we have about four different routes that operate out of Lower Richland or glide through parts of Lower Richland,” said Natavis Eric Harris, COMET planning and development.
Monday afternoon, residents in that area of town shared their questions and concerns about the transit service at a meeting in Hopkins.
“We take this very seriously when getting your input. We want to design routes that are meaningful and will express the needs of the community,” Huggins said.
Many were not aware of the services that COMET transportation already provides.
To see if routes need to be adjusted, COMET has installed new automatic passenger counters on buses.
“We want to make sure that we connect passengers with places to places where they would actually use the service,” Harris said. “More importantly, we want to make sure we connect passengers to places they’re actually trying to go to.”
Harris says that the transportation service faces a tradeoff between ridership and coverage when it comes to planning routes.
“When you focus more on ridership, people may have to walk a little further to get to a bus stop but you will see a more frequent route and a more dependable service,” Harris explained. “When you focus more on coverage, you may be able to have easy access to a route, but you may have to wait a little longer for access to that transportation.”
While trying to leverage coverage and ridership is a challenge, it’s not the biggest issue the Comet transportation service faces.
“The biggest challenge with the service redesign is keeping everybody happy,” Harris said.
Even so, COMET hopes to make the service more useful to central Midlands residents through events such as Monday’s town hall meeting.
T find out more about the COMET transportation service, see their website.