In a time of distress, public transportation is essential for some.
Because of that the the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) is taking additional measures to prevent the coronavirus from affecting its passengers, drivers, employees and assets. The COMET runs the Soda Cap Connector in West Columbia and Cayce. Its bus routes also include Lexington County.
“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. “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.”
Pamela Bynoe-Reed, The COMET’s public information manager, issued a release, Monday, detailing the agency’s plans.
The COMET is coordinating information with the Federal Transit Association, The Governor’s Office Taskforce, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the SC State Department of Transportation, Richland County and the 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.
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.