Our hat’s off to Coast RTA General Manager Myers Rollins. Rather than focus on the loss of the regional bus service’s $629,000 contract with Coastal Carolina University as a problem, he looked upon it as an opportunity to try something new.
Granted, some of that response might simply be making lemonade out of lemons, but that’s what good leaders do. Instead of simply bemoaning the loss of a large contract, Rollins is looking to the future. The local transit group now plans to take the staff that ran the CCU route and redirect them to serving the new Myrtle Beach International Airport terminal, as well as other underserved areas.
We certainly wish Coast RTA the best with their plans for new airport service. There’s the possibility for great success, with plenty of travelers who need inexpensive and easy transport to their hotels. But much will depend on its quality. Students at CCU frequently complained about buses being late or already full after they had waited for a shuttle. It will only take a few instances of a traveler missing a flight because the bus was late or full for the service to get a bad rap and lose the customers it hopes to gain.
Meanwhile, the other concern for Coast RTA board members is how to make up the revenue lost by the end of the CCU contract. Successful new routes could be one part of that solution. But they’re going to have to convince a lot of travelers to take the bus to make up for the loss of the 500,000 riders that the university provided each year. It’ll be interesting to see whether Rollins’ optimism is well placed or not.