COMET Chat with LeRoy DesChamps – October 2021

October 12, 2021


As the Autumn breezes begin to blow away the heat and humidity of the Summer, The COMET gears up for all things Fall which includes school and football, among other things.

UofSC Transit powered by The COMET rolled out to welcome incoming students for its second year of the partnership between the two organizations. We look forward to transporting students around campus safely and reliably. We’ve received grant dollars to replace some of the buses with newer, more efficient vehicles that are environmentally friendly. Those new buses are presently on the road. We were also on the road for the first home games of the season with our Gameday Shuttles. The shuttles are available at no charge to UofSC students with a valid Carolina Card. ADA transportation is also available. As with all public transportation, masks are required to ride the Gameday Shuttles. For more information on how to ride our Gameday Shuttles, visit here.

We originally announced that our mask requirement would be in effect until September 13. Due to the Delta and other variants of COVID-19 on the rise, masks are now required in all of our vehicles and facilities until January of 2022. Our commitment is to ensure the safety of all passengers -not only during the pandemic, but always. The Don’t Miss Your Shot vaccine transportation campaign is making a tremendous impression in the Midlands. Since its inception the campaign in February of this year, our growing impact (not including fixed route) has been to serve almost 5,000 visits related to COVID-19 vaccines and tests. The campaign continues to provide free transportation to vaccination sites has been well received. Riders can use our fixed route buses, DART/Paratransit, and our V-TRIP and PUP programs. Although free rides with Lyft ended September 30, the Uber partnership will remain in effect through the end of the year in offering free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Richland and Lexington Counties. Each individual is allowed up to four free rides (two roundtrips) with up to $15 off each ride to and from vaccination appointments.

To receive a voucher to book trips through Uber go to:

You may recall, as part of the campaign, free vaccines and now boosters are available at our COMET Central transit hub located on the corner of Laurel and Sumter Streets in the back gated parking lot. Vaccination and testing times are weekdays (weather permitting) from 8 a.m.- noon and 2 – 6 p.m.

This has been an exciting year for The COMET as we have been the recipient of numerous awards for our recent campaigns. We so appreciate the excellent work of our Marketing and Community Affairs Department and our agency of record, Flock and Rally. In addition to winning 2021 PRSA-SC Mercury Award of Excellence, for “COVID-19 Pivot”, our “Saving Sarah’s Seat” campaign honoring Sarah Mae Flemming won both a 2021 PRSA-SC Mercury Award of Excellence and an IABC-SC Award of Excellence. Our “Saving Sarah’s Seat” campaign went on to win a national First Place AdWheel Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Also, speaking of awards, The COMET was selected to receive $2.9 million under Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Low or No Emission Vehicle Program for Fiscal Year 2021. The grant allows us to purchase battery electric and fuel cell buses along with charging equipment and supportive infrastructure. The project will also allow The COMET to add more economical fueling sources in the maintenance mix, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and gain skills to expand the zero-emission fleet as our organization works toward its goal of improved air quality for residents of Richland and Lexington counties.

It is exciting to be recognized for our work and it is also humbling. Our greatest accolade, however, is the trust that you, our public, has in our service to the Midlands and the work that we do every day.

It is always a pleasure to connect with you. Please reach out to me anytime if you have any thoughts, comments or questions about The COMET at 803.255.7081 or email [email protected].