FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority is expanding its main Florence Transit Center location.
Don Strickland, deputy executive director, said the PDRTA signed a 10-year lease with the city of Florence in December to finally take over an additional parcel of land.
According to Strickland, the drop-off and pick-up location for buses has been used over the past year at the abandoned Oasis Auto Car Wash, located at West Darlington and Irby streets. Now, renovations can begin to expand the facility and better accommodate the passengers.
"They've been out in the rain, the cold, the winter and the heat in the summer, and we've wanted to find a location for years for them," Strickland said.
Before acquiring the property and starting the renovations, there was a single bus shelter at the corner of Evans and Dargan streets, according to Strickland. He said this is something PDRTA has never been able to offer its passengers.
The city of Florence helped with the $100,000 renovation project.
"They provide us with a local match to be able to draw the federal funds down," Strickland said. "So having situations like this is something we are really excited for and I know the passengers are too."
The sheltered waiting area will have new windows, doors, industrial fans, electronic monitors with the five bus routes listed, and, hopefully, restrooms.
Strickland said the PDRTA's goal is also to build overnight parking to keep the buses at the main transit center.
The PDRTA runs 250 bus stops throughout Florence.
"Pretty much anywhere you are in the city, you are within a few blocks of a bus stop," Strickland said.
In addition to the free shuttle, the PDRTA has two designated shuttles just for downtown Florence.
Another goal of the PDRTA is to create a shuttle service starting after 6 p.m. The route would go from the hotel hub near the Florence Civic Center and take passengers to downtown.
"Right now, we still need more local match funds, which we are hoping it can come from the different businesses throughout the community that would basically benefit from this service," Strickland said.
He added the city has raised $32,000 in accommodation taxes that will help pay for operational expenses. However, the transit service still needs more local partners to make it happen.