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

  • Planning Your Ride


    Regular Routes

    What are the ways to determine where and when I can connect with a CARTA bus/route?

    There are two ways you can do this:

    1. Google Trip Planner – When using the internet or smart phone device, use the Google Trip Planner. Enter the information for your arrival or departure and get your route, bus information and schedule information in seconds!

    OR

    2. Plan your own trip using the System Map and Routes Maps.

    First — Review the System Map. 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, look for connecting routes where you can transfer to complete your trip.

    Next — Review Route Schedules. After finding the appropriate route(s) to take for your trip, find out times and locations (where and when) CARTA can connect you to your destination, simply look on the appropriate route map, find the stop closes to you, and depending on what day it is, look under the Weekday, Saturday, or Sunday time schedule.

     

    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. Click here for 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.

    Express Routes

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

    Boarding and riding 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 are unable to 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.

    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 – 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 stop.

    DASH

    What is DASH?

    DASH stands for Downtown Area Shuttle. DASH Shuttles can connect you with all of Charleston’s attractions. Restaurants, area beaches, shopping & entertainment venues, hotels and historic sites are all found on our routes. No need to hunt for parking when you can simply climb aboard at one of our many conveniently placed bus stops throughout Downtown Charleston and enjoy the ride!


    How is DASH different from regular CARTA buses?

    DASH shuttles have what is called "low flow", or no steps to enter vehicle, which makes it asier to board for everyone; it also helps speed up boarding process which helps to keep the shuttle on time.

    DASH shuttles have cushioned seats and panoramic windows for fantastic visibility of the downtown area as passengers ride in style.


    How much does it cost to ride?

    The Shuttles (DASH) are free to all residents and visitors.


    What is the seating capacity on DASH shuttles?

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

    Fares and Passes

    How much does it cost to ride a regular route?

    The Regular Fare is $2.00 for the Metro Buses.
    Children under 6 are able to ride regular routes for free when accompanied by a paying family member or friend.


    How much does it cost to ride DASH shuttles?

    The shuttles also known as DASH (Downtown Area Shuttles) are free.


    Does CARTA offer discount fares?

    Low Income Discount Fares of $1.25 are available for those who qualify. The Low Income Fare determination is located at the SC Works (Formally 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 (6) and under ride free when a paying passenger accompanies them. School groups should call ahead for fare information at 843-724-7420.

    Seniors 55+ only pay $1.00 for Metro Bus Service Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and after 6:00 p.m., all day Saturday and Sunday, and Holidays. Drivers may request proof of age. Medicare cards or an I.D. card with date of birth will serve as identification for the fare.

    Disabled patrons ride for $0.75 all day, every day.

    Patrons with a valid Tel-A-Ride I.D. card can ride for $0.75.


    How much are passes?

    The following passes are available: 

    • $16.00 for 10 trips
    • $56.00 for 40 trips
    • $80.00 for students per semester
    • $7.00 for all day (available onboard all CARTA vehicles)
    • $14.00 for three days
    • $57.00 for 31 days $99.00 for 31 days Express pass. All passes are valid for both Metro Service and Premium services, including Express routes (Express routes will require an additional $1.00 along with the pass each time you board the bus).


    Where can I purchase a pass?

    Bus passes can be purchased on this website in the Fares & Passes section.

    They can also be purchased in person at these locations:

    DOWNTOWN

    Charleston Visitor Center
    375 Meeting Street
    Mon-Sun, 8:30am-5pm
    843.724.7174

     

    MT. PLEASANT

    Mt. Pleasant Visitor Center
    99 Harry M. Hallman Blvd
    Mon - Sun, 9am-5pm

    NORTH CHARLESTON

    Main Office
    3664 Leeds Ave.
    Mon-Fri, 8:30am - 5pm
    843.724.7420

     

    NORTH CHARLESTON

    SC Works Career Center
    1930 Hanahan Road
    Mon - Fri, 8:30am-5pm
    843.574.1800

     

    NORTH CHARLESTON

    Piggly Wiggly
    8780 Rivers Ave
    Mon-Sun, 7am - 11pm
    843.764.3039

     

    NORTH CHARLESTON / HANAHAN

    Price Wise
    1270 Yeamen’s Hall Rd
    Mon-Sat, 7am-10pm
    Sun, 8am-9pm
    843.747.6373

     

  • Policies


    Rider Etiquette

    Does CARTA promote rider etiquette?

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

    • Do not carry open cans or bottles on the bus. They are a safety hazard.
    • 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.
    • Do not smoke on the vehicles.
    • Do not bring alcoholic beverages on board the buses.
    • Do not use profanity aboard the vehicles.
    • Animal Policy–Police dogs, guide, signal or service dogs are the ONLY pets permitted on CARTA buses.
    • Courtesy Seats–The seats located in the front of each bus and trolley behind the driver are reserved for senior citizens and disabled passengers.
    • Lost and Found–Lost items are turned in at the CARTA Operations Center in North Charleston. Please call (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.

    It is the policy of the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority that all CARTA-sponsored public meetings and events are 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:
    - Text Only
    Click Text Only to adjust this Web site to a text only format

    - 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 are CARTA buses equipped with to accommodate riders with disabilities?

    CARTA is committed to making our public transit system increasing 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 are only $0.75 everyday, all day with valid CARTA Card.

    Riders with disabilities can ride the bus at a reduced fare. You must have a CARTA ID Card issued by SC Works (formally Trident One Stop) to qualify. For more information, see Special Rates.


    How to get a CARTA disability ID card?

    1. Make sure you have a photo ID and proof of disability before applying.
    Accepted documents:

    • Medicare card;
    • Social Security Award letter; or
    • Veteran Disability Award letter

    2. Apply in person at SC Works (Formally Trident One Stop), 1930 Hanahan Road, North Charleston, SC 29406 or call (843) 574-1800 or (843) 574-1810 to request an application by mail.


    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. For questions, send an email to askcarta@ridecarta.com or call 843-724-7420.

    Seniors

    Where can CARTA take senior citizens?

    CARTA takes you to most hospitals, libraries, grocery stores, shopping centers and service agencies throughout the Charleston area.


    What discounts do you offer senior citizens?

    Seniors receive over a 50% discount on regular fares during non-peak hours.


    How much does it cost to ride?
    - Seniors 55+ pay only $1.00 per trip for Fixed Route Service during non-peak hours.
    - Non Peak Hours are:
    ----- Monday through Friday from 9am-3:30pm and after 6pm;
    ----- All day Saturday and Sunday and Holidays
    - 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.

    Bus Features Make Your Ride Safe and Enjoyable:

    • Lifts accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices
    • Buses lower to the curb to make boarding easy
    • Service animals are welcome
    Pets

    Are pets allowed on CARTA vehicles?

    Guide, signal, and service animals and 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 more 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 Daniel Brock 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 am to 1:00 am
    • Saturday, 6:00 am to 12:00 am
    • Sunday, 7:00 am to 9:00 pm

    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 on the following holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day

    Exceptions:
    - DASH does not operate on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
    - Express Routes do not operate on the 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:

    1. Continue bus service to major thoroughfares that are passable, but not on impassible 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.)
    2. When even the main thoroughfares prove too hazardous for safe bus travel, all bus service will be temporarily discontinued.
    3. TEL-A-RIDE service will be provided on a limited basis to dialysis clients.
    4. When weather conditions require CARTA to suspend buses, TEL-A-RIDE service will also be suspended. However, the Tel-A-Ride Supervisor will insure that all customers receiving service are returned to their point of origin prior to removing the vehicle from service.
    5. 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:

    Information is made available on social media
    TWITTER: @rideCARTA
    FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/rideCARTA
    LOCAL TELEVISION MEDIA CLOSING AND DELAYS: Local news outlets
    WEBSITES: Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority 

    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 drivers, maintenance, call center dispatch and other employees to ensure safety, maintenance and customer service standards for the riders of the CARTA service.

Plan Your Trip

Find your way around Charleston with our trip planner.

Track A Bus

Track your bus and how soon it will be at your stop.

Next Stop Times

See when CARTA buses will arrive next at your stop.

Charleston Rider Alerts

Get the latest alerts on CARTA bus routes and schedules.