The Columbia area bus system’s new director said Tuesday that riders will have 40 new buses later this year.
Ann August, who started her new job as interim director on May 1, brings with her transportation experience in Sumter and Birmingham, Ala.
The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority board hired August on April 26 under a $65 hourly contract through at least the end of the year, August said Tuesday.
Among the issues that will be the focus of her attention is equipping 40 new buses, said the 63-year-old Rembert, S.C., native who was raised in Philadelphia. The large and small buses will have locator devices and automated voice announcement for each stop, August said.
All the new buses for The Comet system should be fully equipped by early July, she said. The transit authority staff and the board will decide over the next 30 days which buses will be assigned to which routes.
Based on her experience in other transportation systems, the most heavily used routes with the oldest buses will be first to get replacements, August said.
She said she began working in bus services in 1997 with the city of Sumter. By the time she left in late 2012, she was the system’s director, August said.
That year, she was hired in Birmingham under a three-year contract to oversee a system a little larger than the one in metropolitan Columbia. Bus service there covered more than a dozen towns and cities in the county that includes Alabama’s largest city, she said.
Altogether, August said she has almost 37 years of experience in transportation, including maritime cargo.
Her career also includes serving nearly 30 years in the Army Reserves, with some of her service at Fort Jackson.
“Between her decades of experience in expanding transit programs and her knowledge of the region, we are confident in Ann’s ability to boost the program’s momentum,” said Joyce Dickerson, chairwoman of the board.
August follows Bob Schneider, who left the job at the end of March to accept leadership of a much larger transportation system in the Washington, D.C. area. Schneider held the directorship in Columbia for five years.