“Let’s go for a ride! Shouted area officials after cutting the ribbon for Greenwood County’s new transit system.
“Greenwood County is moving forward,” said Greenwood County Council vice president Chuck Moates.
Moates said the transportation system, which began July 1, has already received 500 request calls and assisted 37 passengers.
“For years, many in our community have expressed the need for affordable and reliable means to get to places such as a doctor’s appointment, pharmacy, grocery store, the everyday trips we take. all of them, ”Moates said. “And whether it was because of a disadvantage or lack of private transportation or economic limitations, many of these trips were unnecessarily difficult to plan.”
Earlier this year, the county applied for a grant from the state Department of Transportation that would fund the system at $ 150,000 with a 50/50 county match. The county match demanded that the county mileage increase by 1 mile in this year’s budget.
The county partnered with McCormick Area Transit to provide transportation service within a 2.5 mile radius of the Greenwood County Courthouse, where the ribbon cutting took place. Passengers can request to visit a doctor or medical appointment, grocery stores, pharmacies or other essential purchases. The rider fare is $ 1 per trip and $ 2 round trip.
Trips must be booked before 2 p.m. the day before and can be scheduled in advance.
MAT Executive Director Becky Powell-Moon challenged Greenwood County residents to use the system. But, Moates received a warning not to take advantage of the system.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Moates said.
Powell-Moon said that when they first launched the system in McCormick County in 2006, they didn’t see any runners for the first full week. She said it was great that in her first few weeks at Greenwood the numbers look promising.
SCDOT provides more than just funding in the form of grants. MAT will receive additional funding for two new vehicles with the money provided by SCDOT.
“It’s huge,” said Christy Hall, Secretary of State for Transport. “I understand what it means to live in a rural area. “
Hall, who is from Abbeville, said his department has committed to spending $ 450,000 over the next three years on the system. However, Hall said there were many that helped get this system off the ground.
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Hall said. “Today is the fulfillment of a dream that has been in the making for over a decade.”
For 15 years, Edith Childs, a member of Greenwood County Council, worked to secure a public transportation system in the county. She was on hand to cut the ribbon on Monday.
“It’s an indescribable experience,” Childs said. “Because he’s been my baby for fifteen years. “
Childs said it was a long time coming.
“Now they have transportation and they can call and make your reservation,” Childs said. “I’m so excited.”
The service operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and is not available on Saturdays, Sundays or major holidays.