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Greenville Business Magazine

Transportation Options Abound in Anderson County

Jun 14, 2023 11:28AM ● By John C. Stevenson

At 770 square miles, Anderson County is one of the largest counties by area in the Palmetto State. So, when it comes to transportation, officials rely on a variety of innovative approaches to connect workers with jobs and make the county seem a little smaller.

Rides Program Addresses Need

The centerpiece of the county’s efforts is the Anderson County Rides Program (AC Rides), which helps ensure that people who want to work can reliably get to available jobs within the county. Anderson County Economic Development works with a variety of agencies to reach and assist residents who are ready, able, and willing to work, but who do not have transportation.

“The county workforce faces transportation barriers, and the county strives to address that,” says Charles E. Turner, a project manager with Anderson County Economic Development.

The AC Rides Program is open to county residents who are:

Unemployed or underemployed.

Work fewer than 30 hours per week.

Earn less than $12.32 per hour.

Have no health insurance.

“Working with all those organizations, some of their clients might have lost their license and they need a way to work,” explains Burriss Nelson, director of Anderson County Economic Development. “They’ve straightened their lives out, they need another chance, but they can’t drive. That’s a barrier to their employment – no transportation.”

The AC Rides Program relies on various solutions, including Uber and other modes of transportation.

There are also organizations working with area industries to provide daily van transportation for groups of workers.

“There are organizations that will provide vans; for example, say there are 15 people that need a ride to work,” Nelson relates. “They will supply the van for (one) person who will be responsible for the vehicle and pick all these people up and get them to work and back home for that particular shift, every day.”

Another piece of the AC Rides Program is the county’s expanding bus system. While the city of Anderson operates the system, the city and county have collaborated to extend the bus line as far as Honea Path: “That’s like a 15-mile ride, but there are a number of industries down there going into Honea Path where people can get jobs,” Nelson says.

The extended bus service also helps another group of residents, according to Nelson.

“If you’re a teenager who lives in Honea Path and you want to go to Clemson University, but you don’t have a ride, you can ride the bus to Anderson and the (Clemson Area Transit) system comes down into Anderson and they meet,” he says. “You might have to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and catch the bus to make all that transit, but you can ride from Honea Path to Clemson University and back home every day.”

For those who prefer to do the driving themselves, Anderson County has within its borders nearly 40 miles of Interstate 85, the 666-mile artery that runs from Alabama to Virginia.

Anderson County also enjoys an advantageous geographic location. Not only does the county share a lengthy border with the more-populous Greenville County, but it is virtually equidistant from two Southeastern metropolitan hotspots, Charlotte and Atlanta.

“It’s an accident of geography that we have exploited,” County Administrator Rusty Burns notes wryly.

Moving freight and more

In addition, the county has active railroad lines and dual-rail service with Norfolk Southern and Pickens Railway Co. providing freight service to the western half of the county and CSX Transportation and Greenville & Western Railroad Co. offering freight services to the eastern half, Nelson explains.

Another jewel in the county’s transportation infrastructure is Anderson Regional Airport. KAND offers a Category I instrument landing system for operation in all weather, and also provides fueling, aircraft storage, and an array of additional aircraft and pilot services.

In order to better serve the county, the airport has undergone a number of improvements in recent years, including the construction of a new terminal building three years ago. The new structure is attractive, with exposed beams and stonework capped by a long, dark green metal roof.