Transit system arrives

Mayor Dough Echols noted this week that Rock Hill's new transit service for the elderly did not come about easily or quickly. That was an understatement.

But the acrimony and finger-pointing were a thing of the past Monday when a variety of local officials joined to welcome the new service. The van-on-demand program now is ready to roll.

A dial-a-ride transit service actually has been up and running since April 2006, but only in the rural parts of York County. In November, the City Council approved a plan to develop a local transit program that would be aligned with the county system.

Over the next several months, however, the proposal ran into logjams, which sparked tempers and angry exchanges between city and county officials. But officials have put aside hard feelings now that the new system finally is in place.

As of this week, Rock Hill residents can reserve rides anywhere in the city or county for one-way fares of $2.50. They must, however, reserve the rides at least two days in advance.

The service is open to anyone, but seniors are likely to be the primary riders because they often don't drive or can't afford cars. In fact, with no other form of public transportation, the only option for Rock Hill seniors has been the local cab service.

This new transit service is certain to help meet that need for many Rock Hill residents, including the handicapped. The number of passengers has risen steadily in the county program, and we expect it will be popular in the city, too.

We also hope this will be the first step toward a larger public transportation system that one day could be expanded to a bus system capable of handling more passengers. But we realize the city will have to grow into such a system, and, for now, the van-on-demand service will fill a crucial niche.

To reserve a ride or learn more about the van-on-demand program, call 327-6694 and press 2. In Clover, call (803) 607-1910.

After encountering roadblocks, expanded van-on-demand system has come to Rock Hill.