Pee Dee RTA to start Saturday service in Florence - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Pee Dee RTA to start Saturday service in Florence

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority will begin Saturday bus service on its Florence Transit routes, officials announced Thursday.

PDRTA Transportation Manager Don Strickland said the additional service is the result of increased ridership and requests from riders. He said many people who work on weekends have asked for buses to run on Saturdays. For example, he said many people who work at hotels near Magnolia Mall and the Florence Civic Center currently depend on family, friends or taxis to get them to work on weekends.

Other riders say even if they are not working, being able to use the bus on Saturdays would be helpful. Bus rider Raymond Sawyer is legally blind, so he depends on the bus to take him everywhere he said.

"I am very excited about because this is the only way I can get around," Sawyer said. "I can't drive at all so at least Saturday I can at least catch the bus to get where I need to go and do stuff that I need to do and stuff like that."

Strickland said contributions from local governments have not increased to expand the service. The additional service is possible because more riders are using the system he said.

The service, expected to begin on March 6, will operate from 8 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 5 p.m.

To celebrate the new service, customers can ride the transit free on Saturdays during the month of March on all transit routes.

Strickland added that the Saturday service may expand into Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon if enough riders take advantage of the new service. Florence Transit is also working on plans to add official bus stops with signs and some bus stop shelters. Currently, riders flag down buses anywhere on the assigned routes.

Four new drivers were hired to make the Saturday service possible Strickland said. If the transit system expands again, more hiring may be necessary.

For more information about the services offered by the PDRTA, visit www.pdrta.org.

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