The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) has announced it will provide current employees with a Service Recognition Bonus for delivering critical service to community members relying on transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $200 weekly bonus will be distributed over a 10-week period and will be for full-time operational staff whose job duties could not be performed from home during the local and state public health executive orders. The money will be paid from recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding the organization received.

The COMET had recently received commendation on its financial audits spanning the past two years. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the organization for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. This was the first year The COMET has earned the award. The recognition honors fiscal responsibility for the organization, which receives funding from the Richland County penny tax.

The Service Recognition Bonus is the most recent measure The COMET has taken to protect and support its staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COMET’s steps to date include requiring and supplying face masks or coverings, posting public service messages, supplying hand sanitizer, social distancing on vehicles, performing enhanced disinfecting and sanitizing for buses and facilities and providing free COVID-19 testing for staff.

“This is a meaningful way to say thank you for their dedication to our community,” said The COMET Executive Director/CEO, John Andoh. “They are indeed our ‘heroes moving heroes’ in the Midlands, providing critical transit services during this pandemic.”

The staff receiving the payment includes bus and demand response operators and engineers, as well as staff members who work in maintenance, facilities, the operations control center, customer experience, administration and quality assurance who need to leave their homes and interact with the public or groups of employees to perform their jobs.

“Our frontline employees provide a lifeline for many in our Midlands community in times of crisis as well as times of calm,” said Andoh. “This bonus shows our support and appreciation to those who provide vital services for The COMET, its customers and our community.”

For more information visit www.catchthecomet.org.