MATRANS

Several vehicles make up the fleet of vehicles for McCormick Area Transit from minivans to cutaway buses. All are ADA-compliant.

ABBEVILLE — Hitchin’ a ride is easier.

Transit service debuts today as McCormick Area Transit System (Matrans) accepts passengers in Abbeville. The official kickoff of the newly established service was Monday in Due West.

Matrans selected Abbeville, Due West and Calhoun Falls as centers for the service as all three communities have medical facilities. Matrans director Becky Moon said Monday approved trips include doctor appointments, grocery store visits, essential shopping, pharmacy visits and trips to and from work sites.

Service in Calhoun Falls is set for Thursday. Included with the system is a “Big Circle,” an optional day of service, Moon said. The bus can start in Abbeville, travel to Calhoun Falls and Due West and then drive to a bus stop in Honea Path to meet the Anderson’s Electric City Transit bus so that people can transfer systems to visit Anderson. Later that afternoon, a Matrans vehicle will meet the Electric City bus to take Abbeville County residents back to their homes.

A “park and ride” system is being considered, she said. Matrans would need a common area for people to park their vehicles to take the bus to another area in the county or to Anderson via Electric City transit.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the National Rural Transit Assistance Program, fares will be free through December 2022, she said.

Service is available to people of all ages from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Moon said. The service area is a 5-mile radius from the center of town. Days when service is not available include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, she said.

The goal is for Matrans to schedule at least 70 trips per month. However, she said Matrans is prepared for 300 trips per month. The system will need time to grow, nevertheless, a sustainable project would be from 25 to 30 trips per day per community.

People who want to schedule trips should call Matrans at 864-446-6415 by 2 p.m. the day before pickup. Moon said Matrans only has so many seats in the vehicles, so if people schedule at the last minute the bus might already be full.

Matrans will need the address of the home and a working telephone number of the passenger. She said it will also need the name and address of the location of the drop and how long the passenger expects to be in or at their appointment.

Callers should indicate the number in their party and if any passengers will require a wheelchair lift or other assistance, she said. All Matrans vehicles are ADA-compliant.

Flyers about the service have been distributed to businesses in service areas, Moon said.

Drivers covering the areas are employees of Matrans and are familiar with the service areas, she said. Matrans will be able to contact passengers for additional details concerning the exact locations of pick-ups or drop-offs.

Contact staff writer Robert Jordan at 864-943-5650.

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