FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – Last year, the Door of Hope Church in Marion raised over 5,000 dollars to fund the PDRTA Marion and Mullins bus route to Myrtle Beach.
That route is now overcrowded and in need of another bus to ensure all passengers have a seat.
While standing on the bus is not uncommon, sitting on the floor or standing for longer than 30 minutes is. Hospitality workers that ride from Marion or Mullins are afraid for their safety and uncomfortable while riding the PDRTA.
For the past 3 months, passengers on Route 391 form a line of 10 to 15 people at the bus stop in Marion.
Mike Heingway says the line starts each morning at 4 for the 6:30 bus.
Heingway explained, “Each one tries to get here first, so they can get to where they will be able to have a seat. Where they don’t have to stand or sit down on the floor because the bus is so crowded.”
The bus has 44 seats but during the summer months up to 62 people fit– which is the maximum number of people allowed to meet the PDRTA loading factor policy.
PDRTA Deputy Executive Director, Don Strickland says safety is the priority.
Strickland said, “There is always, you know, some concern with passengers not having a seat.”
Strickland hopes to solve the overcrowding problem by adding another bus but the agency needs nearly nine-thousand dollars to match federal grants.
“We put ourselves in their shoes and we know that we wouldn’t really want to go down there and work the type of shift they work then come home and not have a seat to sit in. our goal is to try to find a solution for that to be able to. If we need to add a second bus we are able to,” explained Strickland.
PDRTA officials say there is a need for additional route because ridership in Marion and Mullins is consistent and is expected to continue into 2017. But the transit system needs more funding.