PDRTA honored for its service to area

From left to right: Joe Bittle (Chief of Community Health for CareSouth Carolina), Mark Sobiski (CareFIRST Carolina Foundation Director), Don Strickland (PDRTA Executive Director) and Ann Lewis (CareSouth Carolina CEO) pose with the Community Partnership Award.

CareSouth Carolina awarded the Community Partnership Award to the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) at its December staff meeting.

The Community Partnership Award is given to local organizations and leaders in the area to recognize their distinguished partnership with CareSouth Carolina to serve and aid the community.

Over the course of the past couple of years, CareSouth Carolina has been working to provide answers to transportation barriers for patients in rural counties.

“After years of suffering transportation barriers, the PDRTA, under the leadership of Don Strickland, forged community partnerships with CareSouth Carolina and numerous other businesses, agencies and organizations to bring free transit to Marlboro county and Hartsville,” CareSouth Carolina CEO Ann Lewis said. “This is amazing and is providing access to so many folks.”

Strickland, executive director for the PDRTA, said the partnership between the PDRTA and CareSouth Carolina has been beneficial to the Pee Dee area.

“I was truly honored to receive the Community Partnership Award from CareSouth Carolina,” Strickland said. “I am very fortunate to be able to work with some incredible employees there that have a heart for serving and doing good for each community within a five-county region. My goal is to sustain this partnership because together, we can do great things.

CareSouth understands the importance of having reliable public transportation in each community they serve and that is obvious by their mission and the work they are doing.”

The HART service, provided by Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA), was designed to give Hartsville residents a great new travel option for getting to work, school, medical appointments, shopping or recreation.

The HART service began in May with 286 riders for the entire month. In just one month’s time, the ridership had more than doubled at 683. The numbers continued to increase through the summer, culminating in 1,424 people using the service in the month of October.

Much like the HART transportation service, the MARTi service in Marlboro County has seen continued growth, as well. Since the service started in late 2018, MARTi ridership has grown from 323 riders in December 2018 to 1,514 riders in October 2019.

Strickland said the service in Marlboro County has given local residents a service to get to work, increase their education and make medical appointments.

“The MARTi Service in Marlboro County has proven to be a lifesaver for many,” Strickland said. “Citizens in Bennettsville, Clio, McColl, and Blenheim are using the service to reach work, medical appointments, education, and shopping. I look forward to the continued growth and improvement in quality of life for those in Marlboro County.”

CareSouth Carolina is looking forward to a continued partnership with the PDRTA as public transportation services continue to expand in the Pee Dee area.

CareSouth Carolina is a private, non-profit community health center delivering patient-centered health and life services in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. CareSouth Carolina operates centers in Bennettsville, Bishopville, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Dillon, Hartsville, Lake View, Latta, McColl and Society Hill.

Author: Rachel Howell

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