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      Critics concerned despite CMRTA improvements

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Richland County is making a big push to promote a penny sales tax referendum that will appear on the ballot this fall. The county will use $25,000 to advertise the referendum. The money is coming from a fund that drivers pay transit fees into.

      Revenue from the tax would bolster the CMRTA bus system. The money would also go toward repaving streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

      "We need to get a permanent funding source," says Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson. "Once that is secured, we will be able to proceed."

      Critics say bus routes aren't convenient and don't run in heavily traveled places. Rider Christie Duby says the bus station on Sumter Street doesn't have air conditioning.

      "They should have air conditioning in there because with that many people in there, it is stifling some days," Duby says. "One time, I was in here late at night and I walked in there, there was no one there and the air conditioner was on. For what reason, I don't know. That's spending money foolishly."

      Duby says she is pleased with the maps CMRTA provides for each route, but would like to see more busses on those routes.

      "Number 8, they've cut it back to 6:00 and the last bus I can take is 6:05, and my schedule clearly states I have to work until 7:00."