The COMET: Why We Are Running
(March 24, 2020) Columbia, SC – The COMET is a vital tool for transportation in the Midlands that is committed to connecting citizens to the places they need to go safely and reliably.
During this time, we have been asked “Why are buses still on the road?”.
To understand the answer, one must first understand that the people presently riding the buses are very likely conducting essential travel. What exactly is “essential travel”? Here are a few examples of our riders and what constitutes essential travel in the present circumstances:
- The nursing aide who is taking care of your loved ones, friends or neighbors relies on taking The COMET to get her/him to work.
- The person who relies on public transportation because they live in a food desert and The COMET is the only way they can get to the grocery store.
- Individuals who need to get to a pharmacy to pick up medication or to a medical facility to maintain their current health status may need The COMET to get there.
- The cashier at the grocery store or the person who is stocking food, cleaning products and other necessities may need The COMET.
- The medical personnel who assist doctors and nurses and help keep our hospitals running (clerks, IT personnel, janitorial staff, etc.) may need The COMET.
- The person who is going to look after someone more vulnerable amid this crisis may need The COMET.
- The restaurant worker who is helping to keep their business afloat and get your family their takeout order may need The COMET.
These are just a few instances of The COMET providing service to the community in crisis as we
always do regularly. We are continuing to take stringent measures in thoroughly cleaning our buses and facilities by instituting hourly cleaning and daily disinfecting with a bio-clean solution. We have reduced our scheduled run times and have replaced our smaller buses with 35-foot or larger buses so that our riders can observe social distancing. Lastly, we are providing our services fare free until April 10 to ease the financial burden of those who may have lost wages due to the pandemic.
Additionally, we are continuing to work closely with the Governor’s office and local authorities as we implement safety measures in line with their directives and the current situation. Our administrative offices are currently restricting non-essential visitation and only allowing visits by appointment or with advanced notice. We have instructed passengers to observe social distancing in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) instructions as they travel and as they wait for their buses.
Getting our citizens to the places they need to go safely and reliably is at the heart of our mission and one that our drivers, staff and administrators take seriously. We will continue to observe safe practices, sanitize our vehicles and buildings and be there for our riders so that they can be there for the citizens of the Midlands as long as we are able.
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: email@example.com or visit www.catchthecomet.org.
Catch The COMET…We Will Take You There!