COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While Tuesday was a day to celebrate the revival of Columbia's mass transit system, Wednesday saw a different side of the transit issue that indicated the system still has some challenges to work out.
Some of the bus stops around the Metro area do not seem to be in the best places. One bus stop on Forest Drive is located on the side of the road that is farthest away from the Walmart shopping plaza.
The four-lane roadway can be very busy with vehicles traveling rapidly in both directions. Many of the passengers riding the bus are forced to walk across the road with no crosswalk and no traffic light to protect them.
This is happening despite efforts by the bus system to move the stop much closer to the stores where riders say getting on and off the buses would be considerably easier and safer.
It's real dangerous crossing the street," COMET rider Adris Hagler said. "It don't make no sense at all. They should have a bus that would drop us off at the Walmart. We wouldn't dodge these cars, we wouldn't get hit by cars, you know?"
The Free Times newspaper says the system has been working for months to arrange a better location but has been told by a Walmart manager the company does not want a stop or shelter on the property. However, that is much different from what WIS was told from Walmart corporate spokesman Phil Keene.
Keene said the company is working with The Comet to find a solution. He said Walmart is aware of the problem and has dealt with similar situations before saying "we are by no means ignoring this." Keene went on to say one obstacle is that some parts of the property are leased, so the owner has to agree.
A Comet transit planner said there is a plan in the works to create a bus loop and a stop on city property much closer to the store. If that happens, the stops on both sides of Forest Drive would be eliminated.