COLUMBIA, Mo. - Cuts to Columbia's bus service will take place next week.
Starting Oct. 1, bus service will end an hour earlier, at 7 p.m. Para-transit service will also end an hour earlier, now at 6:25 p.m. The city's "flex route" system, where someone could call the city ahead of time to request a bus ride, will also end.
The changes come as part of the city's fiscal 2019 budget. The Columbia City Council approved a 7 percent cut in funding from the transit fund, which includes money earned through bus fares. The city council rejected a proposal to raise para-transit fees by $1 after public outcry against the idea.
The city will end several special programs in the summer of 2019, including Saturday service and changing six routes to run through Wabash Station in downtown Columbia.
Mayor Brian Treece proposed making "one last effort" to bring several stakeholders together to figure out how to make the bus system successful. That would include examining where bus ridership is highest, and where people are going most when using the bus.