Gordge: Comet gave false stats on bus riders

BLYTHEWOOD – During Council members’ remarks at Monday’s Council meeting, Councilman Malcolm Gordge brought up what he called false information provided to the Town by Comet officials about the number of people who ride on the new Blythewood Express Comet commuter bus, 52X, that buses riders to Columbia in the morning and back to Blythewood in the afternoon.

Gordge provided The Voice with a recent report from the Central Midlands Transit on ridership and seat occupancy of the Blythewood Express. The report stated that of the 90 seats available on the 52X, 33 percent of the seats were filled during the second month of service (October, 2017), almost double the percentage for the previous month (16.3 percent).

“Our best day so far,” the report stated, “was Thursday, Oct. 5, where a total of 63 passengers filled 70 percent of the available seats.”

The report stated that during October, the 52X had a total ridership of 664 passengers, an average of 30 passengers per day.

But Gordge said the Town was not seeing those numbers and he challenged transit officials about the number of riders taking the bus out of Blythewood.

“In actuality,” Gordge told The Voice, “we never had more than one, two or three passengers ride the bus except a few days when there were as many as five. So when I challenged the numbers, they told me that those numbers were for the entire 52X route which picks up many other locations even though it is called the Blythewood Express,” Gordge said.

“When I told them we needed to have a better understanding of what the numbers, time frames and destinations are, they did not seem worried. I had the distinct impression that the transit officials are going to keep running the bus out here no matter what,” Gordge said.

The bus, which charges $2.50 bus fare each way, makes stops at The Ponte apartments on Main Street and at Town Hall. For bus schedule information, go to www.townofblythewoodsc.gov.