News & Announcements

The CARTA Board of Directors today extended the system’s free service on Route 20 until at least its next board meeting on Jan. 18, 2017.

Also beginning Monday, Nov. 21, Food Lion will supply a $2 coupon for CARTA riders on Route 20. The coupon is good toward purchases of $20 or more and must be used in conjunction with a Food Lion MVP card.

“We’ve chosen to extend this service through the holidays as a benefit to the community and we’ll revisit the issue in the new year,” said CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings. “We would also like to thank Food Lion for their participation and commitment to the residents of Charleston.”

By Mike Seekings and Ron Mitchum

Charleston County last week approved a $2.1 billion half-cent sales tax referendum that included $600 million for mass transit. The result is an unprecedented win for public transportation in the region and underscores that only an integrated system of roads, transit and bike/pedestrian facilities will help alleviate traffic woes in the Lowcountry.

CARTA executive leadership and its Board of Directors thank Charleston County residents for their “yes” vote and pledge to be excellent, responsible and transparent stewards of these incredible resources while working to build the world-class transit system that our region deserves.

With a bright future ahead, there are a few things that we hope Charleston County residents will keep in mind:

  • We’ll be accountable: From Day 1, CARTA will share regular updates as we put the referendum money to use.
  • Expect new buses, more reliable service and improved transit amenities: Much of what residents will see will be in the form of new buses, more frequent service and items such as shelters. It won’t all happen overnight – CARTA won’t receive $600 million in a lump sum – but there will be steady, measureable and noticeable improvement in the quality of our equipment and the service that we deliver every day.
  • Bus Rapid Transit: Some $250 million of the funds raised will serve as a local match for a Bus Rapid Transit line extending north from downtown Charleston along the Rivers Avenue. This alternative was studied for more than a year and included a massive public involvement component. Now the Charleston area stands poised to move forward with its first dedicated public transit infrastructure.

In the coming weeks and months, CARTA will undertake further in-depth planning while receiving input and feedback from our customers, area businesses and the community at large. Again we say thank you to the residents of Charleston County as public transit in the Lowcountry enters a remarkable new age.

Mike Seekings is Chairman of the CARTA Board of Directors and Ron Mitchum is the CARTA Executive Director.

Funding is part of a competitive $211 million national program …

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments will receive $6.1 million to purchase commuter-style buses and related equipment in the Charleston region, the the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration announced today.

The funds will be put to use by the Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority, the grant sub-recipient, for the acquisition of 16 40-foot, low-floor buses and related items such as electronic fare boxes, security camera systems, locators, bike racks and more.

“This is a huge win for our region and is another important step toward CARTA’s strategic goal of updating its vehicle fleet,” said CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings. All of the new purchases will replace current CARTA Express commuter buses.

The BCDCOG, the governmental planning agency that oversees CARTA, received the funding through the FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program. Sixty-one projects in 41 states, the Virgin Islands, and Indian Country will share nearly $211 million to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase transit buses and related equipment, and construct bus-related facilities, according to a USDOT release.

The Bus and Bus Facilities Grant, which will help provide more modern, reliable bus service nationally, is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed by President Obama in December 2015. FTA received 284 applications that totaled $1.64 billion from 236 applicants in 47 states.  The competitive bus grant program is authorized through 2020.

A list of the selected projects is available here.

“The Obama Administration is committed to improving transportation options that connect people in rural and urban areas across the country to opportunities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will improve mobility for thousands of transit riders who depend on bus service every day, expanding access to employment, education, healthcare, and other important services in their communities.”

Selected projects include those that replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate and construct bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance, according to the USDOT.

CARTA Express commuter routes include:

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