Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Welcome to
CARTA Transit System

CARTA stands for: Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. CARTA offers Fixed-route, Flex Service, Express commute service, and Paratransit service throughout the Charleston Metropolitan area, including The Trolley (DASH) service in the Historic Peninsula area of the Charleston.

This site provides information about how the system can take you almost anywhere your life takes you in the Charleston Metro area including work, shopping, hospitals, schools, and much more.

BRT Graphic

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. BRT operates much like light rail and can have a range of features, including limited stops, faster travel times, prepayment, and improved boarding access.

It does this through the provision of dedicated lanes, with busways and iconic stations typically aligned to the center of the road, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations. 

Because BRT contains features similar to a light rail or metro system, it is much more reliable, convenient and faster than regular bus services. With the right features, BRT is able to avoid the causes of delay that typically slow regular bus services, like being stuck in traffic and queuing to pay on board. 



What will this mean for Charleston?

DEDICATED LANES: Bus Rapid Transit would allow buses to get out of traffic and into dedicated, partitioned lanes.

 SIGNAL PRIORITY: Bus Rapid Transit would have right-of-way at traffic signals, meaning an unobstructed ride.

 MORE CAPACITY: Buses used on a Bus Rapid Transit line would be nearly double the size of standard vehicles. (Two sections linked by a pivoting, or “articulated,” joint.)

 FLEXIBILITY: Once they exit a Bus Rapid Transit lane, buses would be able to integrate into normal traffic.

 ATTRACTIVE STOPS: Metro-style, covered stops and safe crosswalks would dot a Bus Rapid Transit line, helping connect the community.

 LOWER COST: Bus Rapid Transit between Summerville and Charleston would cost about $350 million. Light rail? $2.1 billion.

As a result of a 15-month study, i-26ALT (insert link to i-26alt.org), to identify a transit alternative that will improve transit service and enhance regional mobility along the 22-mile I-26 corridor connecting Summerville, North Charleston, and Charleston, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the US 78/US 52 (Rivers Avenue) was recommended to move forward into planning and design.




















What is recommended for the I-26 Corridor?

The I-26ALT BRT recommendation includes 16 hybrid-electric articulated vehicles operating in a semi-exclusive guideway with transit signal priority.  The planned service originates in Summerville and ends in downtown Charleston at Line Street.   The plan calls for 18 stations with park & rides, transit hubs, and neighborhood stops serving major activity centers such as Summerville, Trident Health/CSU, Northwoods Mall, North Charleston, the Amtrak Station, and downtown Charleston.  With a 60-minute travel time and service every 10 minutes in the peak and 20 minutes in the off peak, the BRT line will provide a fast and reliable alternative to sitting in traffic.


Corridor Length:

23.1 Miles (Semi Exclusive Guideway & Mixed Traffic)

Number of Stations:

18 (Park & Rides, Transit Hubs, & Neighborhood Stations)

One-Way Travel Time:

60 Minutes (Includes Station Delay Time)

Number of Vehicles:

16 Articulated/Hybrid Electric (or other clean fuel)

Planning Level Estimated

Capital Construction Costs:

$360 Million ($15.5M per Mile)Up to 80% can be funded with federal funds (typically 60%)

Planning Level Annual Operating Costs:

$5.9 Million / Year

Total Annual BRT Transit Trips/Systemwide Transit Trips:

2 Million BRT Trips/6.5 Million Systemwide

Total Daily Trips/”New” Transit Trips:

6,874 Daily BRT Trips/3,772 “New” Transit Trips (from other modes)



*Projections from presentation made to Charleston County Council July 2016.  Check back for plans and updates.



















































What is the timeline?

In November 2016, Charleston County voters passed a referendum to raise the sales tax by ½ percent to fund roadway, transit, and greenspace projects.  Part of the transit funding identified in that referendum will be used to leverage federal funds to apply for grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program .





BRT Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG-RJUc6hUM

Please check back periodically for updated plans.




i-26ALT Presentation 2016-Fixed Guideway Transit Alternatives Analysis & CARTA Comprehensive Operational AnalysisBRT information