RTA offers new bus route to Georgetown

The Coast Regional Transportation Authority is proposing a five-day-a-week service with stops in Georgetown that would include Front Street, Wal-Mart, Georgetown Memorial Hospital and other shopping centers inside the city.

Coast RTA General Manager Myers Rollins pitched the idea to the Georgetown City Council Thursday as a service for local residents and tourists.

"On any given day, we receive phone calls from city residents asking for transportation," Rollins said.

"They want to go to airport, they want to go to work ... They want to go for dialysis treatment or to purchase groceries. Hereto, we have been unable to meet that request. We are hoping that will change."

The proposed service would run Tuesday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The route would run every 30 to 45 minutes.

Rollins said he wanted to start the service in July and it would cost $1.50. The first 30 days on the route would be free as a promotional rate.

The cost to operate the service would be about $137,000 a year, Rollins said.

He asked the City Council for about $50,000 in seed money to leverage state and federal grants that could finance the rest.

Mayor Jack Scoville asked, "So what you are telling us is if we don't give you money, this route will not go into existence?"

Rollins told the council the city's seed money was the key.

"Your $50,000 allows me to go to Washington and Columbia and bring you back another $50,000," he said.

Councilman Rudolph Bradley was concerned about finding the $50,000 in the city's already tight budget and said, "There has to be a determination if the money is available."

The council voted to defer the issue until the next budget meeting in June to see if there is money available in the 2010/2011 budget.

Coast RTA already has an agreement with Georgetown County to provide service to the rural areas into the city of Georgetown and to Myrtle Beach.