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COMET unveils upgrades at pair of facilities

Staff Report //June 16, 2020//

COMET unveils upgrades at pair of facilities

Staff Report //June 16, 2020//

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The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority showed off nearly half a million dollars in upgrades to a pair of facilities on Tuesday, including fresh paint, a security fence, and additional security.

The COMET is also now requiring passengers to wear masks or face coverings as part of stepped-up cleaning and sanitizing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The downtown hub, formerly known as the Sumter Street Transit Center and renamed COMET Central, had been closed since late March. Its reopening also included upgrades to the Columbia Place Mall SuperStop off Two Notch Road.

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority reopened its refurbished downtown hub, renamed COMET Central, on Tuesday. (Photo/Michael Dantzler)Upgrades to both facilities had been scheduled for first the quarter of 2020, according to a news release. The pandemic necessitated increased safety and security measures, some of which were paid for through federal relief funds.

The improvements, which include new landscaping, a Little Free Library and newspapers for COMET Central customers, cost approximately $498,000, according to the release.

“The upgrades to these two locations are long overdue. There were many things needed in order to make access to The COMET services a pleasant experience for those needing to ride for essential travel,” John Andoh, COMET executive director and CEO, said in the release. “We were fortunate to receive money from the CARES Act, which allowed us to make the necessary replacements and improvements for the benefit and safety of our riders.”

COMET Central upgrades also include a short story dispenser, rocking chairs, an ATM and vending machines. A Yellow Shirt Ambassador from City Center Partnership will be on site, as will an increased police presence and additional janitorial staff.

A Blue Bike station has been added, along with smoking pedestals, updated digital bulletin boards and a renovated information counter.

Improvements to Columbia Place Mall SuperStop include the consolidation of four bus stops into one central location with bus shelters, benches, lighting and trash cans. The location also received landscaping and sidewalk improvements.