MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority reopened its Marion County facility on Friday and is expanding service.

PDRTA added two new fixed routes this month: The Mullins Express and The Marion Express. Both routes are fare-free.

The upgraded facility brings office space, a lounge and training area for staff.

It’s part of the system’s focus on increasing service in more rural areas, which PDRTA said doubles as an economic boost.

“We are excited to be back in Marion County,” said Don Strickland, executive director of PDRTA. “That really provides citizens with opportunities to be able to get to doctors appointments, educational locations as well as workforce.”

The $300,000 project was covered by federal and state funds.

PDRTA reports ridership last year increased by roughly 12% compared to the year before.

“Everyone stepping on a bus, they’re either going to earn money or they’re going to spend money somewhere, so there’s obviously a big impact, but we’re very excited to be back in areas we once served,” Strickland said.

The Marion Express

The Mullins Express

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Manny Martinez is the weekend evening anchor and a reporter at News13. Manny is from Chicago. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism. Follow Manny on Twitter and read more of his work here.