CARTA Looks to Put Refurbished Bikes Back on the Streets

12/12/2016

First-mile/last-mile ...

Many public transit trips begin with a bike ride or lengthy walk and this holiday season the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) wants to help riders overcome what's been dubbed the first-mile/last-mile problem – and also spread some Christmas cheer.

CARTA has partnered with Affordabike to refurbish 16 lost-and-found bicycles that will be given away to riders over the next couple of weeks in order to help them navigate walks of more than a quarter mile to their stop or final destination. A quarter-mile is roughly the maximum distance that most people find "comfortable" to walk to a stop.

Riders who could use two new wheels – or individuals who know someone who fits the bill – can submit requests/nominations through Dec. 20 by:

All CARTA buses, except free DASH shuttles, are equipped with bike racks as part of the system’s no-cost and easy-to-use Rack and Ride program.

Recipients will be selected by CARTA staff. One of the bikes will be given away through a drawing at the BCDCOG’s Walk + Bike BCD meeting Dec.13 at the former Navy Hospital. That drop-in event is scheduled from 3 – 8 p.m. 

 

New DASH Shuttles Now on the Streets

12/05/2016

A better way to “DASH” around the peninsula for visitors, workers and residents ...

CARTA is pleased to announce the arrival of seven new Downtown Shuttle (DASH) vehicles that will enhance the transit experience for a growing ridership on the peninsula.

 Hitting the road just in time for the holiday shopping season, the recently arrived NewFlyer MiDi buses will replace the existing 17-year-old trolleys and feature noticeable improvements in comfort, safety and efficiency.

"We’re delighted with the purchase of these new vehicles and understand how important this improved experience will be for local workers, residents, students and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year," said CARTA Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seekings. "With a fresh look featuring Charleston’s iconic pineapple for hospitality, we look forward to making downtown more accessible and navigable."

The seven new vehicles are 30 feet in length, eight feet wide and have capacity for 50 passengers. Made in the U.S., each vehicle cost approximately $335,000.  The purchases were made possible via a $500,000 expenditure from the City of Charleston that CARTA staff matched with significant Federal funds.

“CARTA and public transit are playing an increasingly important role in Charleston,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “Because of that, the City saw the necessity of assisting in upgrading the DASH fleet and we look forward to further regional collaboration in the future.”

 Highlights of the new DASH vehicles include:

  • Panoramic windows with narrow posts for enhanced onboard views.
  • Quieter and more fuel-efficient engines.
  • Improved accessibility with two doors, low floor and easily accessible wheel chair ramps.
  • New comfort features such as cushioned seats and enhanced air conditioning.
  • Enhanced safety with more floor space for standing capacity, LED headlights, better maneuverability and a narrower frame, taking up less street space.

Three DASH routes allow riders to explore the peninsula, from the Aquarium to the Citadel to Broad Street and Waterfront Park. There is no cost to ride.

 “The DASH service is a convenient and cost-effective way for residents and visitors alike to move around the peninsula,” shares Helen Hill, CEO of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “At the same time, traffic congestion is reduced because there are fewer cars on city streets.”

DASH FACTS

  • Model: 30-foot NewFlyer MiDi
  • Made in the USA (St. Cloud, Minn.)
  • 250-horse power Cummins ISB engine and Allison B300R 6-speed gearbox
  • Replace “trolley” vehicles, which have been in service since 1999.

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 0: Cost to ride
  • 2: Doors
  • 3: Great DASH routes
  • 7: New NewFlyer MiDis replacing trolleys
  • 8’: Vehicle width in feet (a half-foot narrower than the trolleys)
  • 10’1”: Vehicle height in feet
  • 30’: Vehicle length in feet
  • 53: Total passenger capacity
  • 18,298: Vehicle weight in pounds
  • $335,000: Cost per vehicle
  • $500,000: Local matching funds from the City of Charleston

Private-Sector Leaders Partner to Continue Funding Free Route 20 Service on Charleston Peninsula -- and Challenge Others

12/21/2016

Feed the Need, Belmond Charleston Place, East Bay Company, Blackbaud and more involved in effort keep residents connected to groceries via CARTA ...

Mickey Bakst of Feed the Need and Belmond Charleston Place, Hilton and Catherine Smith, East Bay Company, Neil Robinson, Sean Litton of Peninsula Company, Tony McAlister of McAlister Development Company, Blackbaud and others donating a combined $$46,000-plus to extend free service on Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority’s King Street Route 20.

The contribution will mean six additional months free service in an area of the city heavily affected by the closure of Bi-Lo in the fall. CARTA has provided free service on the route since October – and seen a 50 percent increase in ridership during that time – and will continue to do so through January 2017.

However, Bakst and Co. don’t want to stop at the three months they’ll be providing. They’re also challenging others in the Charleston business community to get involved and fund an entire year of service on Route 20.

“When you look at how Charleston is changing, how its long-time residents are being impacted, I think it is incumbent upon leaders in the business community to step in and help,” said Bakst. “Food is important to our city’s identity and it’s a core essential for everyone. We have to make sure that all residents have access to groceries. It’s the right thing to do.”

For those looking to get involved, checks should be made to Meet the Needs Charleston – a 501 (c)(3) that will transfer the funds to CARTA. The address is 275 Beech Hill Lane, Mount Pleasant 29464.

“In the past weeks we’ve seen residents of Charleston County pass a half-cent transportation sales tax and $500,000 in state funds has come in for shelters and buses,” said CARTA Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seekings. “Now the private sector is stepping up in an incredible way. Combined, this is unprecedented support for public transit in Charleston and we sincerely thank Mickey, Feed the Need, Belmond Charleston Place, Hilton, Catherine and the East Bay Company and Blackbaud for leading this effort.”

Route 20 runs along King Street and Meeting Street between Heriot Street and Broad Street. It serviced the former Bi-Lo and includes a stop in front of the Food Lion on King Street. Food Lion is providing passengers with $2 coupons – the price of standard CARTA fare – through the end of the year.