posted on Monday, January 23, 2017
The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) is
considering more bus routes in downtown Florence that would take
visitors in Florence hotels to nearby restaurants.
The goal of the project is to pull more visitors into Florence, and
give them an opportunity to explore the downtown area once they
"You know, we have been pretty much in the same boat now since our
major downsize in 2013," says PDRTA Deputy Executive Director Don
Strickland. "We definitely always thought there was a need. We do
have several local businesses and business owners reach out to us
asking if there was potential possibility there, and if there was,
how could we make it happen."
Town Hall Restaurant Executive Chef Bobby Hodge is one of those
restaurant managers in favor of the bus routes bringing tourists to
"I think half the reason people don't come down this way is because
they don't know (about the restaurants), especially coming off the
interstate, and you're staying in the hotels over there," says
In order to bring the bus routes to the downtown area, PDRTA will
need two more buses. The price tag of the two units will set the
organization back about $80,000, but the City of Florence is
willing to help.
The city approved $32,000 to go to PDRTA from its tax accommodation
funds, but the rest of the cash will have to come from federal
grants and local charities. The cash doesn't just determine if
PDRTA can buy the buses, it will also be a determining factor in
how the routes operate.
"The amount of local funds we receive on top of what we already
have in place, would determine how much service, how many days, how
many hours each evening that this service could possibly run,"
"A lot of the guys that own hotels down that way eat here and
around town and they are also going to open up a hotel right across
the street," says Hodge. "So I think that is also going to help
bridge the (business) gap."
Strickland says although the project is still in the developmental
phase, there is a lot of promise with the good it would being to
"Realizing that folks see the potential and the need definitely,
for any employee of authority, it is a good feeling, and we do feel
like it's going to make the streets safer in the evenings," adds
Strickland. "It's going to open up the doors for a lot of different
Once PDRTA knows how much money they will receive through grants
and charities, they will have a better idea of when the routes can
begin and how often they will run.
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