The following was among actions taken at the Columbia Association Council's Jan. 24 meeting. For more information call Pam Mack at 381-0020.
BUS SYSTEM CHANGES -- Prompted by expected cutbacks in state and federal aid, the Columbia Association staff has proposed major changes in Columbia's bus system, including raising current ColumBus fares by 15 to 25 cents and eliminating small neighborhood bus routes. The changes also could result in laying off some bus drivers.
But the changes also would permit an improved "Express" bus service on major bus routes in Columbia, reducing the waiting time for buses by 20 to 30 minutes. The waiting time for buses now can be as much as one to two hours, association officials said.
The proposed fare increase would be the first since 1981.
The bus system changes are included in the association's proposed $29.6 million general fund budget for fiscal 1992, which begins May 1. The council is scheduled to vote on the proposed bus changes at its Feb. 27 meeting. The proposal will then be submitted to local and state transportation officials for approval.
ColumBUS, which will cost $760,000 to operate next year, is funded largely by state and federal aid, with Howard County, Columbia and busfare revenues paying the remaining costs. In fiscal 1992, federal and state air for the bus system is expected to be reduced by $253,000 to $548,000.
The proposed "Express" system would save about $225,000 on personnel and gas by reducing the number of routes from seven along major thoroughfares and into neighborhoods to four along major roads only. The proposed fare increase would generate an additional $28,000 a year, officials estimate.
If approved, the plan would would result in layoffs of an undetermined number of bus drivers. But it would serve 95 percent of the estimated 2,000 people who now ride the buses each week, according Jackie Dewey, vice president of community services.
Under the proposed plan, there would be stops at all village centers and senior citizen housing complexes, Columbia Medical Plan, Ellicott City, Columbia Mall, Howard County General Hospital, county buildings and the Dobbin Center.
The buses would run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. There is no bus service on Sundays. Waits between buses on three routes serving east and west Columbia would be only 40 minutes and on the fourth route, serving Kings Contrivance, Dorsey's Search and Ellicott City, there would be a 1 1/2-hour wait between buses at all times.
The proposed increases are: 75 cents to $1 for one trip and $6.75 to $9 for 10 trips for adults; 60 cents to 75 cents for one trip and $5.40 to $6.75 for 10 trips for children ages 6 to 11, the handicapped and senior citizens; and 35 cents to 50 cents for one trip and $3.50 to $5 for 10 trips for senior citizens during non-peak hours.