May 16--Bus riders urge council to save Clemson-to-Anderson route
Over 50 people turned out Thursday at the old Anderson County Courthouse to argue for keeping the current bus service to Clemson and Pendleton intact.
County officials updated the audience on impending changes to local bus service, including the end of the 4U route on which Clemson Area Transit buses transport over 150,000 riders annually between Clemson and Anderson at no charge. Transportation planner Rhonda Sloan said the route would likely be replaced July 1 by a new bus service connecting Anderson to Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, with charges of 50 cents per trip to adults and 25 cents to seniors, students and the disabled.
County council members Tom Allen, Gracie Floyd and Tommy Dunn fielded comments for over an hour from residents along the 4U route. They told the crowd that Anderson city and county officials are still negotiating the details of the new service, but the people who spoke out Thursday think the current arrangement should be maintained.
James Butler said the new route, which eliminates stops within the town of Pendleton, would create hardships for him and several of his Edgewood Square neighbors who live nearly three miles from the TCTC campus.
"Nobody has said anything about the people who have got to go drugstore to get their medication; now they have got to walk down to Tri-County Tech just to catch the bus," Butler said. "That's who I'm here for. This is good and well for the people on Clemson Boulevard, but think about the people in uptown Pendleton."
Pam Broome manages Creekwood Village Apartments in Clemson and said her residents need the 4U route.
"Beyond education and employment, residents use the CAT bus to attend doctor's appointments in Anderson. Changing doctors is not an option due to insurance limitations," Broome told the council members. "Knowing the benefits provided to the residents of both Clemson and Anderson through the availability of public transportation, I respectfully ask, before you eliminate theses routes, please consider other options."
An Anderson resident said users and nonusers alike benefit from it.
"The fact is we all benefit from it," said Art Kaldas. People go to restaurants, shops, nursing homes and the like, Kaldas continued, " ... to find people there eager to serve you, and the public transportation has made it possible for them to serve you."
Anderson native Frank Pressley said a nominal fee sounds reasonable and went on to advocate several other money-raising ideas, including selling naming rights to the buses, even the Civic Center of Anderson, to keep them rolling.
"I'm willing to bet all those people against this bus system all have cars, and it sounds like you take car ownership for granted," Pressley said. "I think we should open the entire county -- Belton, Honea Path -- I can't think of one thing that would benefit this entire county more than a good bus system."
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