South Carolina town blames free buses for rising homeless population


The city manager of North Myrtle Beach said free fares on area buses are encouraging more homeless people to travel to his city, despite the lack of support services in North Myrtle Beach.

As Adam Benson reports in Mass Transit, “Mayor Marilyn Hatley and city spokesperson Donald Graham said Mahaney was referring to a free Coast RTA policy in place for the past two years, which has resulted in a fourfold increase in the city’s counted homeless population.”, although evidence of the connection is tenuous. “I’m not sure why someone who is homeless would go from Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach when services are unavailable,” said Kathy Jenkins, CEO of New Directions.

According to Myrtle Beach Director of Public Information Mark Kruea, “New Directions provides out-of-area transportation for people who want to reconnect with their family support groups. And I believe they use funds provided by the city for that purpose – especially bus tickets – but that’s not a common thing.

The article notes that “further details about commentary and context are difficult for the public to obtain. North Myrtle Beach has stopped streaming its meetings stemming from COVID protocols, and minutes from the July 6 session had not been posted on the city’s website as of July 13. Coast RTA says the agency will resume normal rates “within a few weeks”.


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