Rate hike not enough to operate bus service

Conway, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - People who depend on the Coast Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to get around the Grand Strand may soon be trading extra change for a bus ride.

The Coast RTA Board of Directors unanimously approved raising the price of some bus fare by 50 cents Wednesday.

Routes 10, 15N, 15S, and 30 will increase from $1 to $1.50. Route 14x, the express route between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, will increase from $1.50 to $2.

The rate increase for seniors, students and disabled riders on those routes will be 25 cents, except on Route 14x, which does not offer a discounted rate.

"M" Hudson rides the buses of the Coast RTA almost every day. He says he understands concerns about any rate increase, but he understands the need too.

"It's good, and I guess it's bad for some people that can't afford it," Hudson said. "To keep the buses going, I suppose an increase is what it takes if no funds are coming from anywhere else."

Coast RTA General Manager Myers Rollins said 93 percent of the funding does come from elsewhere - local governments.

"We want to continue to reach out to them to be partners with us from a funding standpoint to make sure we can add this value to the community," Rollins said.

Coast RTA board member Gregg Smith explained why he believes local governments should support the transportation services. He said the service helps the local economy function by taking people to work, shopping and other businesses.

"It's an economic impact," Smith said. "We don't have 600,000 folks riding those buses that do nothing."

As planning for the upcoming fiscal year continues, Rollins said the Coast RTA is still waiting to hear about funding from local governments.

The new fares will take effect on May 16.

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