Coast RTA could see bus route changes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Coast RTA could see bus route changes

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Coast RTA will seek public input through the month of February before making changes to the bus routes and adding to its services.

A possible change will be for Route 15 along Ocean Boulevard. Brian Piascik, the general manager for Coast RTA, said this is a route where buses are having a hard time staying on time. So the plan is to move the route to Kings Highway.

Coast RTA leaders are also looking to provide better service to and from the Myrtle Beach International Airport. Passengers catching a flight currently have to use a route that does a huge loop through town. So you might have a short trip coming from the airport, but it might take you forty minutes to get to the airport. The plan is to move the airport destination onto the 15 South route and serve the airport in both directions.

Other proposed changes include improving access to a lot of the neighborhoods on Highway 15 and Pine Island Drive. Route 16 through Georgetown will now service the hospital there, and they will consider extending service until 8:00 p.m.

But Piascik emphasized these are proposed changes. Leaders want to learn what riders need and what riders do not like in order to provide better, more reliable service. After February, leaders will take proposed changes to the Coast RTA board members. Then the finalized plans will be set into motion on April 1. A list of meeting times and locations is listed at the end of this story.

Piascik said in the past, the emphasis has been to ramp up service for the summer season. But the goal now is to make sure locals are getting better service all year round, too.

"There's really a lot of activity in the area from March to November,” said Piascik. “So it's important to us to improve the consistency of the service by allowing the user to make the same trip in September or October that they make in June or July."

Coast RTA is also looking at making some infrastructure improvements by eliminating the ‘flag stop’ system and implementing designated stops.

"The biggest source of our complaints is a driver might stop at a flag stop somewhere, but another driver won't,” said Piascik. “So it's really almost impossible to be consistent in that provision of the service. And our riders pick up on that."

There is $250,000 budgeted to put signs at least 300 designated locations for fiscal year 2016. That money will also cover purchasing or obtaining easements on any property for those signs. Having designated stops will allow buses to be more reliable. It will also make the public transportation more visible to visitors. Coast RTA intends to hire a consultant for this work.

Coast RTA is also working to create an app so that riders can see where the buses are in real time. First, they need to purchase automatic vehicle locators for each bus. Piascik said those cost around $1,500 each. Then the organization will have to create a data package, which costs about $27,000 each year. The plan is to have the app ready to use by the summer 2016.

Coast RTA Public Meeting Schedule:

4:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 2
Andrews Public Library
105 N Morgan Street
Andrews
General Public is invited to attend.

5:30 p.m. Thursday, February 4
Carvers Bay Public Library
13048 Choppee Rd
Choppee
General Public is invited to attend.

12 p.m. Wednesday, February 10
Coast RTA Board Room
1418 Third Avenue
Conway
General Public is invited to attend.

4 p.m. Wednesday, February 10
Coast RTA Board Room
1418 Third Avenue
Conway
General Public is invited to attend.

2 p.m. Monday, February 22
First Floor Conference Room, City Hall, City of Myrtle Beach
937 Broadway Street
Myrtle Beach (across from the Ivory Wilson Transfer Station)
General Public is invited to attend.

10:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 24
First Floor Conference Room, City Hall, City of Myrtle Beach
937 Broadway Street
Myrtle Beach (across from the Ivory Wilson Transfer Station)
General Public is invited to attend.

Please note: Additional meetings may continue to be scheduled through February 29 and will be updated via social media channels and public/passenger notices.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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