MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The busy season will kick in high gear soon. If you need an easy way to get around downtown Myrtle Beach, Coast RTA is ready to head into this summer with a new, revamped free entertainment shuttle service.
Whether you want to head to the beach, eat at your favorite local pancake house, or play ball at the Cal Ripken's experience in town, Coast RTA's entertainment shuttle hopes to get you to all your destinations at the best price in town, for free. The service will kick off May 29 and will run through September 3.
The red and green trolleys will now take you even more places. The shuttle service is expanding its territory from 3rd Avenue South to 29th Avenue North to include many of the highlights in the area. The service will also expand to go across 17 Bypass for the first time, to enhance the attractions, shopping, and dining experiences.
The spokesperson for Coast RTA, Michelle Cantey, said it will include about 90 percent of the shopping, dining, and attractions that are housed within the city limits of Myrtle Beach. Along this new route, riders can also access post offices, doctors and the DMV, to name a few.
Not only are the routes expanded, but the hours are now extended from 9 a.m. until midnight to suit the needs from students, to hospitality workers, to visitors experiencing all Myrtle Beach has to offer.
"We like to kind of revamp every few years and two years ago we expanded the route a little. Last year, we had planned to go across Highway 17 from a safety factor, but we weren't able to pull that off in time before roll out. So, 2018 seemed prime opportunity to fully expand it down from 3rd Avenue South to 29th Avenue North and from Ocean Boulevard over to Highway 17 Bypass. So, we've incorporated most of the attractions that any tourist or visitor or resident would like," said Cantey.
The new stops will include Family Kingdom, Myrtle Waves and Carolina Pottery.
Cantey said by adding Kings Highway and the 17 Bypass stops, they hope to keep the streets safer by helping to eliminate the need for people to have to walk or bike on the busy roads.
"Well we're open to suggestions. I know we've had several requests to expand it even further south and further north, but we're trying to keep the frequency at that 30 minute level or less, because that's where transit does its best. And then that hop on hop off feature. Everyone loves that fact… that within 30 minutes, I can get to my destination even if I ride the entire shuttle," said Cantey.
Coast RTA will also roll out a new app called "Blippar" to enhance rider experience.
"The really neat thing that we've also offered is a Blippar, which is an augmented reality app. By hovering over our logo on the front of the map, this image here, the user will be able to access any of our advertiser's information that's just special information for the user. So, whether it's what's coming up locally or a special for dinner or special admission price or any of that… and the beautiful thing to that is the advertiser gets to look at the analytics of that at the end of the summer," said Cantey.
Hospitality industry professionals and elected officials will be taking part in the shuttle preview May 1 through May 3.
If you're interested in previewing the new entertainment shuttle, contact Michele Cantey here.