Failed Coast RTA program leaves 58 bus shelters with no place to go

  • Monday, April 21, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/Times A bus shelter outside the Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet. The Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments recently purchased some shelters at an auction and is looking for entities to put them to use.

The Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments has a bunch of bus shelters it is trying to give away.

The structures were part of a failed plan by Coast RTA to put 73 shelters along its routes in Georgetown and Horry counties.

Coast RTA secured $1 million in state funds through the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study in 2006. The agency spent $375,000 and installed 15 shelters.

The S.C. Department of Transportation terminated the program, repossessed the shelters and put them up for auction through the state surplus program.

The Regional Council of Governments spent around $8,000 at the state auction for 56 completed shelters and a handful of partial shelters, according to Mark Hoeweler, the council’s assistant executive director.

“We stepped in and tried to salvage the situation,” Hoeweler said.

Coast RTA did not have adequate staffing to complete the project, and was also hampered by changing bus routes, Hoeweler added.

The council is now looking to give the shelters to local municipalities, counties or school districts for use on existing transit routes.

SCDOT has ordered Coast RTA to repay $324,000 by July 1, or come up with a payment plan by today.

Horry County Council has appointed a panel to look into Coast RTA’s handling of the shelter program and other issues.

Georgetown County Council member Austin Beard is on the panel, as is Hoeweler, who is listed as a non-voting member.

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