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First ever public transportation system could be coming to Cherokee County

Many in the community say they're excited, but officials say what this system will look like, and the best way to run it, are still up for debate and study.
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 3:17 AM EDT
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GAFFNEY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - “It is needed very badly.”

Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Frannie Stockwell says the county is looking at several options for its first ever public transportation system.

“We are looking at the possibility of several predetermined routes,” she told FOX Carolina Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve looked at enterprise van pools, we’ve looked at some Uber systems, we’ve looked at some trolley-type vehicles.”

She says right now, they’re leaning towards those trolley cars, which they believe will add character to the county’s historic districts. Vehicles would stop at high traffic areas, including hospitals, government buildings, and local colleges.

“We just met with city and county a little while back to approve a feasibility study,” she added.

Stockwell says that feasibility study will help them determine the final direction of routes, and where the greatest areas of need are.

“That would make my life so much easier,” said Katerina Wright, a student at Limestone University, when asked what a county-wide public transit system would mean to her.

And indeed, Stockwell says students are one of the key groups they’re hoping will benefit.

Wright says that right now, the lack of public transportation to get from point A to point B is frustrating, especially because she plays a sport at Limestone, and often has scheduling/logistical issues around transportation as a student-athlete.

“I find myself needing like, snacks or water or Gatorade, and I don’t have a ride,” she said, “so I have to ask my friends to take me.”

Her friend Bryce Jones, another athlete living on campus, says that’s why they’re both all for this idea.

“I always have to find a ride, and I can’t go on my time, I have to go on someone else’s,” Jones said.

“I know there’s going to be some cost, some ticket,” he went on. “I guess just make it so that everyone at the school, no matter their background or where they come from, can afford it.”

It’s not just the younger generation that want this either.

“We send out employees to care for anyone in the home that has a disability,” said Crystal Price, owner of White Picket Fence Homecare in downtown Gaffney.

She runs the business with her partner Stephanie Hyleman. Both women say: the quality of life for the seniors they care for could be improved tremendously with a system like this.

“Some of our clients are still active in the community. They still socialize with friends,” Price explained. “It’ll help with doctors appointments, it’ll help with errands and grocery story pickups. And some of them still like to go to church.”

“That’s what everybody needs to look at--the betterment of all,” Stockwell concluded.

Officials say they’re hoping to get the feasibility study done by the end of July 2022. They also add: they’re in talks with local freight companies about supplying and managing vehicles that could be a part of this plan, in an effort to help local businesses benefit by keeping this project in the community.