Richland County bus service back to operating seven days a week - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Richland County bus service back to operating seven days a week

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COMET (Source: Twitter) COMET (Source: Twitter)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Richland County's bus service is operating seven days a week again.

The system had scaled back its services for about two years but a penny sales tax is giving it new life.

Without the bus service Damon Wilson's life would be turned upside down.

"To be honest, I've never really thought about that, but I just know it would cause problems for me," Wilson said. "I could definitely tell you that."

Wilson uses the bus to get to and from work and to get to class.

With buses operating on Sundays again it makes that even easier for him and others.

"I use it mainly for church and, you know, getting back and forth from work and, you know, visiting friends and, you know, going out to eat at restaurants or shopping or whatever," said bus rider Carl Jefferson.

Larry Livingston with Veolia Transportation, who operates COMET, said they want to build back the ridership.

"We want people to utilize what we're putting on the street," Livingston said.

He said Sunday service is just the beginning of a series of improvements all thanks to Richland County's penny sales tax.

"That penny sales tax, right now, is certainly a penny at work," Livingston said. "It's being enforced. It's being utilized right now. That's how we're back to 7-days operation."

Livingston said service was drastically reduced by 40 percent in 2012.

But he said the penny might soon allow them to put more buses on the roads at peak hours and add routes.

"In some areas like the Bluff Road area or the Sandhill area," Livingston said.

Buses also might soon run later than 8 p.m. which is good news for Wilson.

"Because I just don't think that 8 p.m. is going to cut it," Wilson said. "You have a lot of people that get off of work like nine or ten o'clock, and they, perhaps, may need to catch an eleven o'clock bus."

Livingston said he wants everyone to come out and use the COMET even if you haven't before.

Bus fare on Saturdays will be free for the rest of May.

Fare on Sundays will be free until Labor Day.

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