Downtown business owners push for better public transportation

Downtown business owners want better transportation

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) - - In 2017, Greenville was named the fourth fastest growing city in the country. However, some would argue the city is struggling to keep up with its growth.     

A constant issue continues to be public transportation and parking in downtown Greenville. 

Greenlink buses run infrequently. In a city that thrives off of its hospitality industry, buses don't run when a lot of the restaurant and hotel employees are getting off work. 

"We could get someone to work," Greenlink director Gary Shepard said. "We couldn't get them home."

This is the current Greenlink schedule:

Routes 1 - 14 

  • Monday-Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the last trip departing from the downtown Transit Center at 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the last trip departing from the downtown Transit Center at 5:30 p.m.

Route 16 - Circulator

  • Monday-Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with the last trip departing from CU-ICAR at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the last trip departing from CU-ICAR at 5:30 p.m.

However, there's also a problem for employees who have cars because there is limited parking available downtown. 

Maddie Bockstahler is an employee at Soby's. She says she keeps a timer on her phone in order to move her car every two hours. She would prefer getting a monthly pass, but there's a waiting list for the downtown garages. 

"Thinking ok, I have to pay this, I have to pay this bill, and I have $200 in parking tickets as well, so it's pretty stressful." Bockstahler said. 

In the city of Greenville, it's also against the law to move your car to another timed parking spot. 

Sec. 42-175. - Timed parking.


On-street parking.


No person shall move or reposition a vehicle parked on street to another on street location in a zone having a posted time limit for purposes of avoiding the posted time limits. Any person violating this provision shall be subject to the fee set for overtime parking established by the city's schedule of fees.

Parking services say the fee is $35. 

When Bockstahler is finally able to get a monthly pass for a garage, it will cost her around $70 each month.

"It can get pretty expensive very quickly for someone making an hourly rate of 9, 9.50, 10 dollars an hour," Glen Williams, the regional manager of three downtown hotels, said.  

Williams supports the newly formed Downtown Transportation Coalition which is comprised of downtown business owners. The coalition founder, Jon-Michael Carter who's the CEO of Chartspan, says he saw a major issue.    

"I'm going to hire a hundred employees this year, and I don't know how to get them in and out of downtown because the public busing system is not effective, and it's not efficient, and there's not enough capacity with parking," Carter said. 

He said one solution is a park and ride. 

"They have cars," Carter said. "Let's find a location near the downtown area, use that as a central point to then get people to the front door of their employers in 15 minutes or less."

Carter says it's cost effective and quick. 

For example, a shuttle that leaves from County Square that runs every 15 minutes from 6 AM to 9 PM would cost $283,881 and would need more than 500 users. 

Carter says they would help fund some of it along with city and county money. 

The coalition is currently doing a data-analysis. Then, they'll reconvene with city, county, and transportation leaders to figure out the next steps. 


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