The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET), in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), will provide free COVID-19 tests for passengers of the bus system beginning today.
SC DHEC has set up a testing kiosk at COMET Central, the transit hub located on the corner of Sumter and Laurel streets. Testing is scheduled four days per week, Wednesday through Saturday. The times are:
Wed-Fri 7:00 a.m.-noon and 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Sat 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
“We are grateful for the wonderful partnership developed with SC DHEC. They have truly been remarkable in providing resources to the public and to The COMET,” said John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of The COMET. “In the midst of the holiday season, we want to ensure the continued safety of our riders as they go about their essential travel. Providing free testing for them is another way that we are serving the community.”
This announcement is the latest initiative by The COMET to help its passengers to continue to ride safely. Testing is also provided for The COMET staff and bus operators monthly.
Since the start of the pandemic, The COMET has put in place some of the most stringent cleaning and safety measures in the transit industry. Bus operators and staff are required to use the multiple temperature check stations, located in the administration building which houses the drivers’ lounge, upon reporting for their shift. The buses are being upgraded with plexiglass barriers between the drivers and passengers to minimize the possibility of any exposure. This implementation not only minimizes the likelihood of transmission, but also protects the bus operators from any assault.
Increased disinfection of all vehicles and facilities has been implemented since the start of the pandemic and mandatory masks or face coverings to ride The COMET buses or enter facilities went into effect early this summer.
“Providing testing, along with the daily sanitizing of our facilities, the mandatory mask requirements and other measures, we are doing the best we can to help minimize the possibility of spread and keep our riders safe,” added Andoh.
SC DHEC also provides low to no-cost community testing resources that may be accessed by visiting https://scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-testing-locations for more information or call SC DHEC at 803.898.3432 with any questions or concerns.
About The COMET
The COMET is a service of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority and provides countywide public transit services on 34 fixed routes, five ReFlex services, vanpool service for commuters, subsidy programs with Uber and Lyft and DART for transportation to grocery stores and at night, ADA complementary paratransit service throughout Richland and portions of Lexington Counties and eight Blue Bike bikeshare stations in Downtown Columbia. The COMET transports approximately 2.8 million passenger trips a year on a fleet of more than 80 buses, vans and trolleys. Transit services are provided under contract with RATP Dev USA, Enterprise Holdings, Lyft, Uber and Bewegen. For additional The COMET information, please call (803) 255-7100, TDD/TTY: 711 through the relay service, email: [email protected] or visit www.catchthecomet.org.