New CMRTA board faces old problems

COLUMBIA (WACH) - A new, 11 member Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority board officially began its work Monday.

The intergovernmental body restructured itself earlier this year, a move that hinged on the board receiving more than a million dollars from Richland County and the City of Columbia combined.

"The most recent analysis, which was done in the past few months which indicates we do have a $2.7 million shortfall, said Brian Dequincey Newman.

Newman is the chair of the new board.

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Buses wrapped in advertisements have appeared on city streets recently, offering another source of cash flow for the sputtering system and they could become a more frequent sight.

"We TMre considering all options, particularly seeking additional grants and funding from the federal government, adds Newman. There are lots of different avenues that we've yet to explore."

John Odom relies on CMRTA TMs buses each day to get to both of his restaurant jobs. He TMs frustrated by rising fares and long waits at bus stops.

"I TMm a frequent bus rider, I see people struggle each day trying to make it to their respective jobs."

Newman says the board will hire a new interim transit director and reevaluate its contract with Veola, the company that operates the buses.