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The Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments (Santee-Lynches) is conducting a public transportation needs assessment study for the region (including Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter Counties) .

This project seeks to inventory existing public transportation resources in the region and identify both infrastructure and policy gaps in the region’s public transportation system

To make this assessment successful, Santee-Lynches needs the public to provide their input and opinions on the public transportation resources desired for the future in their community. Santee-Lynches looks to obtain input from residents of all ages and backgrounds across the four-county region using a variety of outreach efforts including: surveys, focus groups, various public engagement opportunities, and interviews.

Through April 2019, presentations and public engagement sessions will be held throughout the region.

This assessment is sponsored by the Santee-Wateree Regional Transportation Authority, which provides nearly all public transportation services within the region.

Santee-Lynches Region

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The Santee-Lynches region encompasses all of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter Counties in South Carolina. This planning area contains 12 municipalities and is home to over 223,000 people.

About Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments: Santee-Lynches is a premier organization committed to optimizing each member’s unique strengths by leading regional unity to create global impacts and cultivating a highly desired region to live, work, and play.  We serve the counties of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter and the cities of Bishopville, Camden, Manning and Sumter.  Our mission is to deliberately enhance the quality of life and provide opportunities for the advancement of our region.  SanteeLynches serves the counties and cities of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter. 

 About Santee-Wateree Regional Transportation Authority: The Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority (SWRTA) is the public transportation provider in Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties; providing fixed route bus and ADA services in the City of Sumter with Shuttle services to the Cherryvale and Shaw Air Force Base Communities. SWRTA provides SmartRide services to Columbia from Camden and Sumter. SWRTA provides demand response (paratransit service), which operates in the urban and rural areas of the county. Paratransit service offers county residents accessible transportation options to ride any of these county routes based upon space availability as cash clients.

Public Engagement

The public engagement process is a critical component of successful transportation planning. Input from community leaders, elected officials, stakeholders, and the general public will help ensure that long-term transportation planning is comprehensive, collaborative, and sets out a transportation vision for the future. 

Here are all of the ways that you can get involved in transportation planning in the region!

  • Complete the survey!

  • Attend a public workshop


Existing Conditions


Population Growth

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The Santee-Lynches region grew by approximately 13,000 people between 2000 and 2017, with the majority of the growth occurring before 2010. That growth as been uneven throughout the region. Kershaw County has experienced dramatic growth, adding over 12,000 people to the population mostly in western Kershaw. Sumter and Clarendon Counties experienced steady population growth between 2000 and 2010, yet growth has stagnated since 2010. Meanwhile, Lee County saw significant population decline losing 3,000 people, almost 14% of its 2000 population. 





Aging Population

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The population in the Santee-Lynches region is aging. The median age of residents in all of the counties has increased by between 4 to 6 years with the exception of Sumter County. The percent of the population over age 65 has also increased during the same period by over 4.0% in all the counties. This aging population will present some transportation challenges in the future as older individuals are often less mobile and face unique safety challenges as drivers. 

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Economic Development

The Santee-Lynches region has long been an agricultural hub. While agriculture remains an important segment of the economy, manufacturing and retail have become dominant employment sectors, and much of the anticipated growth in the four counties is tied to the establishment of major manufacturing operations and the growth of the of the Columbia metro area to the west. Currently, the City of Sumter, the largest city, serves as a focal point for economic and social activities. Camden serves as a secondary regional center, while Bishopville and Manning serve as trade centers within their respective counties. These are the areas with the greatest concentration of jobs. 

The region also has many strategic transportation linkages within the state and beyond. Close proximity to Columbia affords easy access to both road and air transportation hubs, including the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). A short distance to the south, the Port of Charleston is one of the East Coast’s major seaports. Access to I-20 and I-95, provides easy ground transportation for both North-South and East-West travel. Both highways are key freight corridors.

Labor Force

While the region's population has grown, the labor force (number of employed and unemployed people looking for work) and employed people are in decline. In 2007, the region had a labor force of 95,010 people, 88,563 of which were employed. In the following decade, the labor force and number of employed people declined as the recession impacted the area.

Even with economic recovery, the labor force has not returned to its 2007 figure. There are now only 92,081 people in the labor force, a decline of 3,000 people. There may be numerous causes behind the labor force decline including an aging workforce and various social factors. Total employment has also not recovered to pre-recession levels as there are approximately 1,000 fewer people employed in the region since 2007. As with population change, Lee County has been most affected by labor force changes, losing almost 2,000 people in their labor force and 1,500 employed people. These changes in the labor force are important in considering issues of congestion, road capacity, freight improvements, among others.


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Public TransportatioN

Santee-Wateree Regional Transportation Authority (SWRTA) operates several fixed-route bus routes in the Sumter metro area and in Lee County, as well as commuter routes to Camden and Columbia. SWRTA also offers paratransit services in throughout the counties, often in conjunction with other local agencies.

In addition to the local services, there are several long distance services that operate in the region including Greyhound with stops in Sumter and Camden, and Southeastern Stages, with a stop in Sumter. This map shows the location of local routes in the region.







Draft Public Transportation Needs Assessment and Framework Plan

Please check back soon for draft content!