Changes coming for Coast RTA bus routes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Changes coming for Coast RTA bus routes

Changes are coming for Coast RTA bus routes. (Source: WMBF News) Changes are coming for Coast RTA bus routes. (Source: WMBF News)
Conway, SC -

Whether you use the Coast RTA buses to get to work or just down to the beach, officials are making some changes that could make your route more dependable, easier to use, and faster.

Those changes start with expanding services. 

"We put so much service out in the summer and then sort of having it drop off the table makes it really difficult to maintain a job and use the system, so we want to try to allay that a little bit," CEO of Coast RTA Brian Piascik said.

The four main changes that are set to start on September 7 are listed as follows:

  • Sunday service and a midday trip that will run between 12 and 1 p.m. will be added to Route 1.
  • A late trip from Conway to Myrtle Beach will also be added to Route 7, leaving at 6 p.m.
  • Another trip from Myrtle Beach to Georgetown will be added to Route 16, leaving at 6:30 p.m. It also includes an express bus back from that area hitting the rural parts of highways 521 and 701.
  • An express bus will add an extra run for Route 7 that will leave at 1 p.m.

"We'll be a little bit more reliable from month to month. You know there's trips you can make during the summer, related to work trips,  that you can't do in our old fall and spring service. So we think that if we're operating them basically all year round that we'll get better utilization," Piascik said.

The changes were discussed during Wednesday morning's Service  Committee Meeting in Conway.

Officials hope the modifications will give riders more options and more consistent service, while also cutting down on service issues, late buses, and complaints.

A Coast RTA Public Affairs meeting was also held on Wednesday morning, where officials reviewed the current customer service procedures.

According to Marketing, Media, and Community Relations Manager Michelle Cantey, there are plans to increase training and provide better scripting for Coast's customer service representatives. No definitive timelines were set on when these would be put in place while officials gather more information.
Officials also say they expect their next round of new buses from Dallas to arrive later this fall. At that point, they plan to talk about an advertising sales program that would wrap the buses in ads.

There's still work to be done on the buses however. According to state regulations, they can not be painted yellow because they look too similar to school buses. So in the weeks to come, officials will get them repainted.

In the meantime, Coast RTA will partner with Coastal Carolina University students to formulate and implement on-board surveys. Officials with the public transportation service are looking for more information about how riders feel about their routes and what other needs can be addressed.

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