In 2016, the Strategic Plan Infrastructure Team implemented a program intended to improve access to reliable transportation for people with low-income and to better connect the community in a manner consistent with the City’s Strategic Plan.
Anyone who buys a yearly parking pass at any City downtown parking garage or surface lot receives an annual Go COMO bus pass. A number of City employees and others have chosen to donate their passes to the program. The Team partnered with Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) to take the donated bus passes and distribute them for free to low-income residents, city-wide.
Of the 271 passes donated and distributed in 2016: 20 were given to residents in the Central Neighborhood; four in the East Neighborhood; and two in the North Neighborhood. There is a tracked average usage among all distributed passes of 82 rides per pass for the year. These Go COMO bus passes help residents get to work, school, the library, appointments, the grocery store, community centers and other destinations.
When Shirley Patrick needed to move back to Columbia from St. Louis, she found herself homeless with little means to get her life started again. Even basic things like getting around town and looking for a place to live were a challenge.
When she received her donated bus pass to ride Go COMO for free she says it was “a beautiful thing.”
“When I went up to get my pass, I thought it was going to be for a month,” Patrick said. “But it was for the rest of the year, about six months, which threw me for a loop in a good way.”
In addition to the bus pass, Patrick said many helpful people as well as public and private agencies helped her find accommodations and get her life started again. She hopes to go back to school and prepare for the future.
“Please tell the City of Columbia ‘thank you’ for me,” Patrick said.
The annual bus pass allows a rider unlimited access to the fixed route buses for 2017 without having to pay a fare. Bus passes are limited; anyone interested in applying to receive a pass may contact Anthony Nichols at CMCA, 573-777-5213 or Anthony-Nichols@ShowMeAction.org. If you have a pass to donate, please contact Dana Sample in Public Works at 573-441-6604.