Midlands COMET bus system ends route to Batesburg-Leesville

ByShannon J. Cortes

Jun 25, 2022

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A bus arrives at the COMET Transit Center on Laurel Street in downtown Columbia.

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The Columbia regional bus system will end its route to rural Batesburg-Leesville, officials said Friday.

The COMET Bus System, which serves Richland County and parts of Lexington County, said in a statement Friday afternoon that it would suspend Route 97, which provided bus service to Batesburg-Leesville County of Lexington. The course will be suspended from July 1st.

Officials said the road had suffered from low traffic.

“We understand that there is a need for viable transportation services in this area to connect eastern Lexington County to services and opportunities in western Lexington County and Richland County,” the CEO said per Acting COMET Derrick Huggins in a statement. “We will take this time to work with the leadership and community of Batesburg-Leesville to explore what type of service we can develop that will work best for them to meet their transportation needs in a cost effective and efficient manner.” »

Route 97 to Batesburg-Leesville was launched as a pilot in January 2020 and connected to the bus system’s West Columbia superstop on Williams Drive. The route had been funded by a mix of federal, state and local money.

Batesburg-Leesville, a city of about 5,500 people, is about 35 miles from downtown Columbia.

Chris Trainor is a retail reporter for The State and has worked for newspapers in South Carolina for more than 17 years, including previous stops at the (Greenwood) Index-Journal and the (Columbia) Free Times. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the South Carolina Press Association, including honors in column writing, government reporting, profile writing, food writing, election coverage, and more.