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

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.

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