MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach has decided to end its beach wheelchair service.
Lt. Joey Crosby with MBPD says, the wheelchairs began to age and some became broken with use over the years and the police department was unable to keep up with the repairs needed.
Crosby added one person was completely dedicated over the summer to delivering and picking up the wheelchairs, and the demand of use became such a strain on the department that they were forced to pass the service on to a private company.
The department made the decision on May 20 and since then people in the community have started a petition to Mayor Rhodes in response.
Brock Johnson had an accident 5 years ago and became a quadriplegic. Since then he has organized many events and has become a local advocate for people with disabilities.
“Everyone’s very upset and as a leader in the community for people with disabilities and sports. As a person they look to go to the beach, everyone has turned to me for answers. I don’t have an answer and that’s what we would like to find out is if there’s a better solution,” Johnson added.
He says there are other solutions or alternatives that should have been considered before discontinuing the service.
“I feel like there could be another answer other than 45 dollars a day. There could be a deposit put down. There’s could be a less expensive charge. People with disabilities are on fixed incomes and can’t afford 45 extra dollars on top of their vacation.”
Johnson added that when he organizes events like “Wheel to Surf” he requires people to sign a liability waiver and the city could do the same if they’re concerned about that.
Johnson says the ultimate goal of the petition is to come up with a compromise.
“Anything that would make it more accessible for everyone. It’s free for everyone else to go to the beach so it should be free for us to go as well.”
News13 reached out to City spokesperson Mark Kruea who says they’ve heard the feedback and are now working on other options to continue the service in some capacity.