Battle for Buses in Beaufort

Beaufort County Democrats will join forces with Charleston County public transportation advocates, transit union organizers, South Carolina Progressive Network members, and concerned voters to wage a “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” on Friday, Apr. 19.

“The Battle for Buses in Beaufort” is a unique project with the dual purposes of focusing attention on the need to turn out to vote in the May 7 Special 1st Congressional District Election, and of building community support for increased state and federal funding for affordable public transportation across the Lowcountry.

It’s one of a series of “Farebox to Ballot Box

Leafleting Dorchster Express Bus Riders

Organizers from Americans for Transit and the ATU leafleted the riders going on the Dorchester Express bus in Summerville

” events being held from Apr. 15 to May 6 that range from distribution of voter information cards about 1st Congressional District candidates positions on public transit and voter outreach at bus stops to absentee voting via public transit.

“The Battle for Buses in Beaufort” will kick-off at 6 a.m., on Friday, Apr. 19, at the Palmetto Breeze Terminal in Bluffton, which is located at 25 Benton Field Rd., near the intersection of Burnt Church and Ulmer roads.

Volunteers will handout flyers about the upcoming 1st Congressional District election and 1st Congressional District public transportation funding needs to pre-dawn Palmetto Breeze riders from Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton, and Allendale counties, who use the regional public bus system to get to their jobs in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, according to Atty. William J. Hamilton, III, President of the Hungryneck Straphangers.

“We ride standing up–and we won’t sit down until Beaufort County has better public transportation,” says Hamilton, whose transit riders’ group is co-sponsoring Friday’s Bluffton events with Americans for Transit, the Amalgamated Transit Drivers Union, and the Charleston Chapter of the S.C. Progressive Network.

CARTA bus to Mount Pleasant Coleman Blvd. at Vistor's Center

CARTA Coleman Blvd. 41 Bus at Start of Route, Charleston Visitor’s Center, Express bus arriving from N. Charleston

Friday’s “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” events also include discussions with local businesses whose employees use or could benefit from the use of public transportation, and local residents who want to see expanded public bus service.

A lunch meeting of volunteers is also being planned for 1 p.m. at the Golden Corral, in addition to a return to the Palmetto BreezeTerminal to pass out flyers to afternoon bus riders.

“Today (Apr. 17) we reached over 5,000 voters in Charleston, and they will be turning out to vote on May 7,” Hamilton said of Wednesday’s all day “We Ride, We Care, We Will Vote” outreach to Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority bus riders at bus stops and businesses.

Public transportation advocates invited all 18 1st Congressional District candidates on the March 19 Republican and Democratic primary ballots to ride public transit, and to answer questions about their positions on public transit and funding for the proposed Passenger Intermodal Transit Center in North Charleston.

But only Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a Republicans Elizabeth Moffaly, Teddy Turner, Robert Hoffman, Ric Bryant, and Tim Larkin and Green Larry Carter Center rode the bus.

Former Gov. Mark Sanford, who’ll face off against Colbert Busch for the 1st District seat on May 7, has steadfastly declined to ride the bus–despite seven e-mail and in-person requests, according to updates and photos available at http://tinyurl.com/votetransit.

Moffley and Larken boarding the 40 Mount Pleasant Bus

Republican Candidates Moffley and Larken boarding the 40 Mount Pleasant Bus

“This is an important effort,” Beaufort County Democratic Party Chairman Blaine Lotz told Beaufort County Democrats in an e-mail urging them to support “The Battle for Buses in Beaufort.” Lotz invited Hamilton to make a presentation about the event at the Apr. 12 BCDP Executive Committee.

“Affordable public transportation is one the most crucial needs in Beaufort County–and has been for years,” says Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club President Theresa White.

“Not having reliable transportation keeps too many people from getting the jobs and education that would improve their quality of life,” explained White, who plans to attend all the “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” events.

Contact: Theresa White, President

The Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club
Atty. William J. Hamilton, III, President
Hungryneck Stephangers
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