The Island Flex Bus #402 is a stress free way to get to the beach, with limited scheduled service to the front beach business district of the Isle of Palms and the opportunity to go nearly everywhere on the Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island by phoning in a reservation.
While the times and prices aren’t exactly right, the Island Flex does now show up on Google Transit. If you call ahead for a reserved pickup, you can often arrange for the bus to meet the #40 and get you out to the beach from downtown in about 45 minutes total. See the next 3 available trips to IOP from Downtown. It can take a little planning and patience, but calling CARTA Tel-A-Ride/Flex Reservations at 843.724.7420 at least two hours prior to your trip saves a lot of time and opens up many more possibilities.
The long trip times reported by Google Transit reflects the unscheduled operation of the Flex Bus between scheduled runs, when the bus serves both IOP, Sullivan’s and part of the mainland based on phoned in reservations.. You’ll usually get out to the beach about 10 minutes after you are picked up Mount Pleasant Town Centre in front of Verizon. If you get a transfer from the #40 the trip to the beach should be only an additional dollar upcharge plus the 30 cent transfer, not the full $3 charge, or a total trip cost from downtown to the beach of $3.05. You can make the full trip in as little as 45 minutes with a phone in reservation.
The Island Flex connects to both the #40 Trans Mount Pleasant and the #401 East Cooper Connector bus lines and is CARTA’s and the areas only public transit service to any local beach. The #40 bus, in turn connects to the entire CARTA route system downtown at the Mary Street Transit Center.
College of Charleston students can even make the trip to the beach for free using their Student ID as a Bus Pass. See our student’s guide to a free trip to the beach.
Once you are on the Isle of Palms, you will find a beautiful, family oriented beach (alchohol free) where both the IOP County Park and City of Isle of Palms have shower and changing facilities available for free to transit riders a short walk from the bus stop. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and business in IOP to meet all your beach needs. You don’t have to ride out in your swim suit and you don’t have to ride home with salt on you.
Sometimes the Island Flex gets caught in the beach traffic snarl like everything else, but it is a lot more pleasant to be able to enjoy the view, read a book and listen to your music than to stare at the bumper in front of you and fret about the bumper behind you for 30 minutes. You can stand up and stretch your legs and enjoy the view as well.
With a called in advance reservation you can go elsewhere on the Isle of Palms (outside Wild Dunes, where it serves a stop at the gate) and all of Sullivan’s Island.
Times for the return trip from the beach to downtown on Google Transit appear to be accurate.