FAQs

Answers to questions about planning your ride + CARTA policies and operations.

Plan Your Trip

Planning Your Ride

Find Your Route

Where can I find CARTA bus routes and times?

There are multiple ways to find out where and when CARTA can get you to your destination!

  1. Check out System Map on RideCarta.com.
    • When using System Maps, simply find your location on the map and look for the nearest route. Then follow it to see if it goes to your destination!
    • If it does not go to your destination, look for connecting routes where you can transfer to complete your trip.
  2. Use Route Maps on RideCarta.com.
    • Find the stop closest to you using the map controls in the top left corner of the map, then click the map pin for your chosen bus stop.
    • After finding the appropriate route(s) to take for your trip, follow the stop closest to your destination by clicking its name underneath Today’s Primary Bus Stops to the right of the route map.
    • View Bus Route Schedule underneath the route map for route schedules, primary stops, and stop times.
  3. Download “Transit” on the App Store and Google Play.
    • Travel like a true Charlestonian with real-time information in the palm of your hand.
    • Find nearby stops, get updated timetables & service alerts, create favorites lists, and more!
    • Get everything you need to plan your trip in one easy-to-use app.

How can I locate bus stops?

Bus stops are usually located one or two blocks apart. There will be several stops listed (these are called time points), however most routes have more stops on the route. View a complete list of bus stops by route.

How do I identify my bus?

As a bus or shuttle approaches, be sure it is the one you need before boarding. The overhead sign, located above the bus windshield, shows the name and number of the bus route. In addition to the overhead sign, the DASH shuttles also have a color-coded destination sign in the window beside the passenger entrance.

What guidance to you provide riders for boarding, riding and exiting a CARTA regular route bus?

  • Boarding and riding the bus
    • Arrive at your stop at least five (5) minutes before the bus is scheduled.
    • Have your fare ready when the bus approaches. Make sure you have the correct fare or pass ready as you board the bus (Please note: Drivers cannot make change).
    • If you need to transfer to another route to complete your trip, you will need to purchase a transfer pass which is $.50. Please have this ready when you first board the bus and pay along with your fare. The driver will then issue you a transfer pass to board your next bus to complete your trip, or the driver will specify a certain place to obtain a transfer.
  • Once you board the bus
    • Take your seat as soon as possible and please do not change seats unless absolutely necessary.
    • Keep aisles and exits clear. Blocking aisles or exits can slow down the bus. Try to keep bags or other items out of the aisles. If you have items with you, please keep them on you, under your seat or in above storage racks when available.
    • Please be mindful that the seats are for passengers, especially when there is a high volume of passengers on your bus.
  • Exiting the bus
    • Notify the bus driver when you wish to exit the bus. As your destination approaches, simply pull the stop request cord that runs along the upper part of the window, or push a yellow stop request strip located on the side panels near the windows on.
    • Use the rear or center door to exit when available. By exiting at the rear door, people waiting to board the bus can enter immediately through the front doors–this helps to keep the bus on schedule.

Tips for Riders

Regular Route Tips

  • Boarding the bus:
    • Arrive at your stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled.
    • Have your fare ready when the bus approaches. Make sure you have the correct fare or pass ready as you board the bus (Please note: Drivers cannot make change).
    • If you need to transfer to another route to complete your trip, you will need to purchase a transfer pass for $.50. Please have this ready when you first board the bus and pay the driver along with your fare. The driver will then issue you a transfer pass to board your next bus to complete your trip, or the driver will specify a certain place to obtain a transfer.
  • After boarding the bus
    • Take your seat as soon as possible and please do not change seats unless absolutely necessary.
    • Keep aisles and exits clear. Blocking aisles or exits can slow down the bus. Try to keep bags or other items out of the aisles. If you have items with you, please keep them on you, under your seat or in above storage racks when available.
    • Please be mindful that the seats are for passengers, not bags, especially when there is a high volume of passengers on your bus.
  • Exiting the bus
    • Notify the bus driver when you wish to exit the bus. As your destination approaches, simply pull the stop request cord that runs along the upper part of the window, or push a yellow stop request strip located on the side panels near the windows.
    • Use the rear or center door to exit when available. By exiting at the rear door, people waiting to board the bus can enter immediately through the front doors, helping to keep the bus on schedule.

Express Route Tips

  • Boarding the bus
    • Please try to arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before scheduled pick-up times.
    • Please be prepared to board CARTA Express quickly and find your seat. The cost to ride Express is only $3.50 per ride. Please have exact change; bus drivers can’t make change.
    • Express gold passes are available to purchase online and at participating vendor locations.
    • Employees and students at participating partners, please be prepared to show your ID as you board the bus.
  • After boarding the bus
    • If all seats are occupied, you may stand behind the yellow line that is located in the front near the driver as long as there is standing room where you can grasp a handle, pole or overhead poles.
  • Exiting the bus
    • Each express route features just a handful of convenient route stops, so please be prepared to exit the bus as your stop approaches.
    • Signal the driver that you need to exit at the approaching stop by pressing the yellow signal strip located on the side panels near the window.
    • Check to make sure you have all your items and stay seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.

DASH Services

What is DASH?

DASH stands for Downtown Area Shuttle. DASH shuttles can connect you with all of Charleston’s attractions, from restaurants and local beaches to shopping & entertainment venues, hotels, and historic sites. No need to hunt for parking when you can just hop on the DASH at one of our many conveniently located bus stops throughout downtown!

How is DASH different from regular CARTA buses?

One of the major differences between DASH and regular CARTA buses is that DASH is free to ride! Skip the fare and dash around downtown Charleston.

DASH shuttles also have what is called a “low floor”, or no steps to enter the vehicle, which makes it easier for everyone to board. This helps speed up the boarding process, which keeps the shuttle on schedule. In addition, the shuttles have cushioned seats and panoramic windows for fantastic visibility of the downtown area, so passengers can ride in style.

How much does it cost to ride DASH?

It is worth saying twice. DASH shuttles are totally FREE to all residents and visitors.

What is the seating capacity?

The vehicle seats 24 seated passengers and an additional 24 standing. DASH buses have the same seating capacity as CARTA buses; however, more floor space allows for more standing room.

Learn more about the DASH here.

Fares and Passes

Route Costs

How much does it cost to ride a regular route?

The regular fare is $2.00 for the metro buses. Children under six years old can ride regular routes for free when accompanied by a paying family member or friend. View the Fares and Passes page to purchase passes online.

How much does it cost to ride the Airport Express?

The fare is $3.50 for a one-way ticket or $7 roundtrip, your cost is less with Airport Express. The CARTA Airport Express route is an easy and affordable way to connect you between the Charleston International Airport and downtown Charleston. This route also serves many of the new hotels in the North Charleston area and Tanger Outlets.

Discounts

Does CARTA offer discount fares?

Low Income Discount Fares of $1.25 are available for those who qualify. The Low Income Fare is determined at the SC Works (formerly known as Trident One Stop Career Center) located at 1930 Hanahan Road, North Charleston, SC 29406. The phone number is (843) 574-1810. Low Income Discount Fare ID Cards are issues between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Children aged six and under ride free when a paying passenger accompanies them. School groups should call ahead for fare information at (843) 724-7420.

Patrons with a valid Tel-A-Ride I.D. card can ride fixed route service at no charge.

Disabled patrons and Seniors 55+ are eligible for a discount. See details in Accessibility below.

Pass Types and Purchase Locations

What passes are available and how much do they cost?

The following passes are available:

One Trip Pass: $3.50
One Day Pass: $7.00
Three Day Pass: $14.00
Seven Day Weekly: $15.00
Seven Day Weekly Express: $25.00
Ten Trips Pass: $16.00
Forty Trips Pass: $56.00
Thirty-One Day Pass: $57.00
Thirty-One Days Express Pass: $99.00

Where can I purchase a pass?

Bus passes can be purchased on the Fares & Passes page. They can also be purchased in person at these locations:

Policies

Rider Etiquette

Does CARTA promote rider etiquette?

These are CARTA’s Rules of the Road to Remember:

  1. Do not carry open cans or bottles on the bus. They are a safety hazard.
  2. Do not play radios (without headphones) on the bus. If you do have headphones, please use at a volume that does not disturb other passengers or the driver.
  3. Do not smoke on the vehicles.
  4. Do not bring alcoholic beverages on board the buses.
  5. Do not use profanity aboard the vehicles.
  6. Animal Policy–Police dogs, guide, signal or service dogs are the ONLY pets permitted on CARTA buses.
  7. Courtesy Seats–The seats located in the front of each bus and trolley behind the driver are reserved for senior citizens and disabled passengers.
  8. Lost and Found–Lost items are turned in at the CARTA Operations Center in North Charleston, available by calling (843) 724-7420; the route name, number, time and direction of travel are helpful when calling.

Accessibility

What accessibility services does CARTA provide?

All CARTA fixed route buses are wheelchair accessible and meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

If you have difficulty getting to the bus stop and/or riding fixed-route buses, CARTA also offers para-transit services (Tel-A-Ride) for eligible customers with disabilities and are unable to use regular fixed route services.

All CARTA-sponsored public meetings and events are made accessible to people with disabilities. If you need assistance in participating in this meeting or event due to a disability as defined under the ADA, please call the CARTA ADA Coordinator at (843) 529-0400 Ext. 202 or e-mail JBurns@ridecarta.com at least three (3) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.

Additional Accessibility Services

  • Audiotape & Braille
    When requested we can provide CARTA materials in accessible formats. Please email askcarta@ridecarta.com or call (843) 724-7420 for assistance.
  • TTY/TTD
    Need special assistance by phone? Call our TTY/TTD phone number, (843) 747-1499.

What equipment do CARTA buses have to accommodate riders with disabilities?

CARTA is committed to making our public transit system increasingly accessible to members of the community with various disabilities. We make riding easy with these extra bus features:

  • Lifts accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
  • Buses lower or “kneel” to the curb to make boarding easy.
  • Priority seating is available for customers with disabilities. These seats are conveniently located at the front of the bus. Bus operators will secure wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Service animals are welcome.

How much are fares for riders with disabilities?

Fares for riders with disabilities are only $0.75 all day, every day with valid CARTA Card.You must have a CARTA ID Card issued by SC Works (formerly Trident One Stop) to qualify. For more information, see Special Rates.

Do you provide similar services for visitors who need public transportation?

If you’re visiting Charleston and are disabled, you can ride CARTA at the discounted rate when you show your Medicare Card, or your Disabled ID Card from your home transit system. A visitor to the Charleston area may also use Tel-A-Ride if he or she is certified by another transit system or is found to be eligible for the service in Charleston. Likewise, a Tel-A-Ride patron may be eligible for similar service in other cities. Your Tel-A-Ride identification card will certify your eligibility for paratransit service in Charleston. Questions? Email askcarta@ridecarta.com or call (843)724-7420.

Seniors

Where can CARTA take senior citizens?

CARTA goes to most hospitals, libraries, grocery stores, shopping centers, and service agencies throughout the Charleston area. Find the route that works best for you!

What discounts do you offer senior citizens?

Senior citizens ride for a discounted fare of $1 during all hours of service. Seniors are considered 55+. Drivers may request proof of age. Medicare cards or I.D. card with date of birth will serve as identification for the fare.

What can I do if I want to ride, but I’m not sure how?

Simply call (843) 724-7420 and let our operations staff pair you with a CARTA Ambassador! Learn the ropes and make a new friend.

Pets

Are pets allowed on CARTA vehicles?

Guide, signal, and service animals & police dogs are the ONLY pets permitted on CARTA vehicles.

Media Inquiries

How does CARTA handle media requests?

Since Charleston’s mass transit system is governed by eight-member governments and by regulations of the Federal Transportation Authority, CARTA has a responsibility to consider any media requests and handle them as the system deems appropriate, on a case-by-case basis. CARTA asks that all media outlets respect the rights of bus system users, drivers, and other staff to wait for and ride the bus system without disturbance.

The following policy and guidelines have been set for CARTA to effectively and quickly handle any media requests from documented media outlets and contact:

  • Request to board any CARTA bus should be submitted no less than 48 business hours in advance of need.
  • Media must provide assignment details in writing or over the phone, including timing, focus of the story, interview needs (CARTA spokesperson, driver and/or passenger), if bringing a video or traditional camera, etc.
  • When media contacts the CARTA office, a CARTA employee will record all necessary details (name, media outlet, request, timing, etc.). The CARTA employee then will send the information to Rawle Murdy and also ask the media contact to contact Rawle Murdy directly.
  • All media requests will be relayed to Rawle Murdy, on behalf of CARTA. Media outlets are welcome to contact Marquel Coaxum with Rawle Murdy directly with any requests.
  • CARTA request the opportunity to comment on any story that is filmed on or about CARTA buses or the transit system.
  • When the request is to board a CARTA bus, a CARTA representative must be present. This is to aid in coordination of any interview and access needs in a timely and smooth manner.

Operations

Service Hours

What are CARTA’s service hours?

The hours and days of CARTA fixed route and Tel-a-Ride paratransit operation are generally:

Monday–Friday, 5:15 a.m.–1:00 a.m.
Saturday, 6:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
Sunday, 7:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

CARTA fixed route riders are advised to check individual route schedules for specific service times.

Holiday Schedule

What are CARTA’s service hours on holidays?

  • All routes operate on a Sunday schedule during the following holidays:
    • Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Memorial Day
    • Independence Day
    • Labor Day
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas Eve
    • Christmas Day
    • New Year’s Day

Exceptions

  • DASH does not operate during the following holidays:
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas Day
    • New Year’s Day
  • Express Routes do not operate during the following holidays:
    • Day after Thanksgiving
    • Day after Christmas

Weather Conditions

What is CARTA’s policy for providing service during inclement weather conditions?

During inclement weather conditions, CARTA will implement one of the following plans:

  • Continue bus service to major thoroughfares that are passable, but not on impassable neighborhood or side streets that are difficult or dangerous to negotiate during bad weather. (Please note that delays may be expected under these conditions but bus service will be provided to the fullest extent possible.)
  • When even the main thoroughfares prove too hazardous for safe bus travel, all bus service will be temporarily discontinued.
  • Tel-a-Ride service will be provided on a limited basis to dialysis clients.
  • When weather conditions require CARTA to suspend buses, Tel-A-Ride service will also be suspended. However, the Tel-A-Ride Supervisor will ensure that all customers receiving service are returned to their point of origin prior to removing the vehicle from service.

Upon confirmation of service changes from the Executive Director, public information regarding services is to be disseminated by CARTA staff using all of the following methods:

Does CARTA provide transportation to warming shelters?

CARTA provides transportation services to and from warming center locations if/when possible.

Management / Transdev

Who is Transdev and what is their role in supporting CARTA?

Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) contracts Transdev Services, Inc. to manage its transportation system. Transdev is responsible for the day-to-day operations of CARTA bus and paratransit services in Charleston, which includes the hiring, training, and managing of drivers, maintenance, call center dispatch and other employees to ensure safety, maintenance, and customer service standards for all riders of the CARTA service.


Plan Your Trip
CARTA Rider Alerts
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    2 Oct
Transit App

Download “Transit” and travel like a true Charlestonian.

Available in the App Store and on Google Play, “Transit” offers numerous features to help you easily navigate around Charleston.

Bus Route: See vehicle locations in real time, find nearby stops, and receive stop announcements.

Service Alerts: Keep on top of schedule changes, stop relocations and other unexpected surprises.

Favorites: Always take the same bus? Move it to the top of the list by adding it to your favorites.

Timetables: View the full schedule for a route and set alarms to remind you to leave.

Countdowns: Get real-time predictions based on data from the transit agency.

“Go”: Get step-by-step transit directions and notifications about when to leave for your trip and when to get off the bus.

Plan a trip!: Compare trips side by side with your preferred transport modes selected.

View Transit 101

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TransitApp