COLUMBIA, S.C. — The COMET (Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority) and the University of South Carolina announced a partnership that they hope will provide better service for students and the general public who use the Carolina Shuttle routes.
Under the $1.5 million deal, transit amenities -- including bus stops, shelters etc. as well as buses -- will be maintained and sheltered by The COMET as part of the contract giving the university access to bus system management and expertise while optimizing resources.
Initially, of the 12 buses in the shuttle program, five to eight of the buses will be newly purchased used buses and the remainder will be buses from COMET's existing fleet. UofSC will be responsible for buying and refurbishing the used buses. According to a press release, by Spring 2021, there will be 12 new buses that will replace the used buses. The University will pay 15% of the local match associated with the purchase of new buses with the other 85% of the money coming from a Federal Transit Administration grant that supports the Columbia Urbanized Area.
The COMET estimates close to a million passenger trips will be added to The COMET transit system and the Columbia Urbanized Area, as well as an additional 250,000 revenue vehicle miles. That could translate to an estimated increase of $500,000 in Federal funding annually to The COMET.