Mobility Options with The COMET
The COMET Article for All About Seniors
By Pamela Bynoe-Reed
You may have heard that The COMET provides countywide public transit services on 34 fixed route, four ReFlex services and DART ADA complementary paratransit service throughout Richland and western Lexington counties. You may also know that The COMET transports more than 2.8 million passengers annually on a fleet of over 80 buses, vans and trolleys. Did you know that The COMET has services tailored to meet the various transportation needs of older adults? The COMET’s Pick-Up Program (PUP), Volunteer Transportation Reimbursement Program (V-Trip), DART (Dial-A-Ride Transit), and The COMET on the Go! are four programs that work well for older adults or those with limited mobility.
The COMET’s mobility programs, V-TRIP and PUP, are the newest initiatives designed to take you anywhere you want to go within the Columbia Urbanized Area. However, you must originate your travel from outside The COMET service area. Registration is available to seniors (age 65 years or older) or people with disabilities who live inside Richland or Lexington counties.
V-TRIP lets riders get money back to pay the people in their life who drive them. If you have a friend from church, work, school, or the neighborhood who gives you a ride, this program may help cover gas money for up to 100 miles per month. A log must be summited monthly of trips made in order to be reimbursed. PUP provides riders with a debit card to pay for up to $50 per month in taxi, Lyft or Uber rides.
An application and determination of eligibility will be required to use these programs. If you already have a DART ADA ID Card or a The COMET Half Fare ID Card, you will automatically be eligible for these programs upon submission of a program application for V-TRIP or PUP.
For more information about V-TRIP and PUP or to apply, call 803.834.2382 (TTY/TDD: 711), email email@example.com or visit The COMET, 3613 Lucius Road, Columbia, SC 29201 and ask to speak with Brittany Terry, mobility management specialist.
If you are a senior or have a disability that prevents you from using The COMET fixed route system, you may qualify for DART service. DART is an origin-to-destination, advance reservation, shared-ride transportation service. There are no restrictions on the purpose or frequency of reservations. Riders going in the same general direction are grouped together to share rides. A fleet of small buses provides DART service. Each is equipped with wheelchair lifts and can accommodate four wheelchairs.
To qualify for DART service, applicants must be unable to reasonably access and/or use The COMET fixed route systems independently. Those who wish to use the DART system can be certified as eligible by completing an application and following the short eligibility review process. To download or print out the application, visit https://bit.ly/33U9G7p.
The COMET is helping you get around the Columbia Metropolitan Area easily with The COMET on The GO! The COMET will pay up to $5 for ridesharing trips that start and end in The COMET fixed route service area on Uber and Lyft through the following two programs:
- COMET @ Night: seven days a week, 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. To get up to a $5 discount, apply the Lyft promo code RIDECOMET2010. For Uber, get a voucher at t.uber.com/cometnight.
- COMET To The Market: seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Apply the promo code COMETMARKET20 (Lyft) or visit t.uber.com/cometmarket to get a voucher (Uber). Your trip must originate or end at the following fresh food markets: Aldi, BiLo, Blossom Shop, Costco, Food Lion, The Fresh Market, The Gourmet Shop, Kroger, La Estrella Supermarket, Lidi, Lowe’s Fresh Food, Ole Timey Meat Market, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Rare Variety Café, Rosewood Market & Deli, Sam’s Club, State Farmer’s Market, Supermercado El Mariachi, Target, Trader Joes, Walmart & Walmart Neighborhood Market and Whole Foods Market. COMET To The Market can only be used twice a week per passenger. The code must be entered to receive the discount and you can only board or alight in the Food Desert areas.
For both programs, anything over $5 is the responsibility of the passenger.
Lastly, when accessing any transportation service of The COMET, or prior to entering any of our facilities, a mask or face covering must always be worn. We look forward to keeping you safe as we take you where you need to go!
Pamela Bynoe-Reed is the Marketing and Public Information Manager for the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET). As chief spokesperson and marketing leader for The COMET, she is responsible for promoting the services of the organization via digital and offline platforms, developing strategic partnerships with key business, community and government stakeholders, managing third party vendor relationships and business development/branding. Her passion lies in connecting businesses and services with the community and crafting wonderful stories and opportunities for synergistic experiences.