MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Trying to fly out of Myrtle Beach International Airport during last year’s Memorial Day Bikefest was problematic because of the 23-mile traffic loop. Police say changes to this year’s plan will make traveling into and out of MYR much easier.
During Tuesday’s Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting, the county’s emergency management director said the 23-mile traffic loop, implemented two years ago to regulate biker traffic through downtown Myrtle Beach, needed some adjustments to allow taxis and other paid drivers easier access to the airport.
For this year’s traffic loop, Myrtle Beach Police have a new plan in place to help taxis navigate the loop. The changes aren’t to the traffic loop itself, which will remain the same as the past two years, but adds a new route for taxi and Uber drivers to enter Harrellson Boulevard to get to the airport.
“It was a culmination of problems. One was we were trying to get traffic into the airport, as well as we needed additional taxi drivers to transport the passengers,” explains Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach police.
Lt. Crosby says the new route will allow taxis to get to MYR from a new location.
“The taxi cabs will be able to access the airport from both Kings Highway and the Bypass. Last year they were only able to access from the Bypass,” explains Lt. Crosby.
A new taxi layer is also being added to the online map service, so people will know how long it will take if they’re planning to catch a cab. The digital service will also help taxi drivers navigate the new route.
“So you’re able to click on that layer and see what the taxis are able to do,” says Lt. Crosby.
A taxi officer will also be assigned to the airport during the nighttime hours.
“To assist those taxi drivers getting real-time information by being able to call that officer directly,” explains Lt. Crosby.
One of the main goals is to get more taxi drivers to operate when the loop is in effect, something Bob Carroll the owner of City Cab in Myrtle Beach, hasn’t done the past two years.
“We take that weekend off,” laughs Carroll. “Specifically because of the traffic loop. It is just too hectic, too many other potential problems.”
Despite the revenue loss from the busy holiday weekend, Carroll says he’d rather play it safe.
“But it’s just not worth it. You got to look at the cost-effectiveness, and sometimes that potential accident, or whatever, outweighs the money you could make,” explains Carroll.
Carroll says the changes are welcome and may even change his mind about closing, but until he sees the plan in action, he’s going to remain closed during the traffic loop.
The traffic loop will be in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, but may close early each night depending on traffic conditions.