LAKE CITY — The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority is considering a fare increase for the Lake City/Myrtle Beach Commuter bus that runs once each weekday from Lake City to Myrtle Beach and back, taking area residents to jobs at the shore and held public hearings on the issue last week.
The route now costs $3.50 each way and the PDRTA is looking to hike that to $5; a 42 percent increase over the current rate.
“We haven't had an increase in fares since the start of the route but we have seen fuel prices more than double in that time frame,” said Don Strickland, transportation manager with PDRTA.
Strickland said the route began five years ago and averages 30 riders each day taking the trip both to and from Myrtle Beach.
“We often have 80 trips or 40 passengers commuting to work,” said Strickland.
“We depart at 6:30 a.m. from Piggly Wiggly in Lake City and have folks at work just after 8 a.m.,” he said. “Nearly all passengers work in the hospitality industry at hotels along the beach.”
Funding is the major reason for the potential rate increase and the PDRTA is also considering offering a 10-ride pass for $45.00; a 10 percent discount.
The PDRTA is also considering changes in other area routes, including:
A fare increase for the Mullins/Marion/Myrtle Beach Commuter bus
A reduction from five to three daily trips between Darlington and Florence
The elimination of the commuter service between Hartsville and Darlington
A service reduction and fare increase for the “DART” bus which provides public hourly bus service in the City of Darlington
Termination of the Hartsville Portion of the Hartsville/Darlington/Florence Commuter Bus
Written comments regarding the PDRTA rate increases and service changes will be accepted until Wednesday, June 20, at PDRTA, P.O. Box 2071, Florence, SC 29503. Persons who cannot submit a written comment but wish to comment may do so by calling Don Strickland, PDRTA Transportation Manager, at 843-664-5719.