Better Stops and Routes for 2013

Fall 2012 report  CARTA Board & Community, October 17, 2012

The Full Report can be downloaded in PDF format.  https://docs.google.com/open?id=0ByXEuvB49CMSWk9WaFRBZ0RtQm8  It includes detailed reports on the performance of the 40 & 401 bus routes.

Bus to the Beach

CARTA provides service to the Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island with the #402 Island Flex

Over the past six months the over 100 people involved with our organization  continued to work to raise awareness and ridership East of the Cooper.  Major transit canvass efforts have been conducted at the East Cooper Medical Complex near Bowman Road and the new Mount Pleasant Hospital near Wando HS.  At both medical complexes we had face to face conversations with over 50 nurses, receptionists and medical professionals.  Unfortunately the disruptions of road construction have depressed ridership an estimated 3000 trips per month, which need to be recovered.

We’ve attended and spoke at Mount Pleasant Town Council and three public planning meetings regarding road planning, emphasizing the importance of transit enabled roadways.  We’ve spoken to the sustainability committee and admissions office at the College of Charleston and provided materials on East Cooper Transit Services and DASH.  We’ve had three reports published in the Moultrie news and been featured in two television reports.

We’ve spoken to over 1000 members of the public about transit.  We’ve also begun a program of talking to new employers in Mount Pleasant before they open about transit services which can make their businesses more profitable to increase the likelihood that riders will be hired.  Our website has had over 3000 visits with activity focused on route information.

In all of these efforts, we’ve distributed specialized transit materials focused on that precise location, the nearby stops and the relevant CARTA and Tri County Link routes such as those included in this packet as well as standard CARTA and Tri County Link printed bus schedules.

Hungryneck Straphangers has identified two major goals for the next six months.

  1.  Work to increase the likelihood that safe, accessible bus stops are in place along both sides of Highway 17 between Wando High School and the Ravenel Bridge, including benches and shelters at major, heavily used stops.  These stops should be near places where pedestrians, including those who are elderly or partially disabled can cross the road in reasonable safety.  This is what was promised with this road project was funded by taxpayer approved referendum and when the design was approved.  We want the road to be functional for Transit Riders and Pedestrians before the work is done, the concrete is hard and the money is gone.
  2. Support public input in making the best possible decision about the new route system and do what we can to make sure the new routes are used and that operations by CARTA are on time, on schedule and on the planned routes by continuing our efforts at community engagement and education in cooperation with the schools, non profit groups, churches and businesses which have become our partners in transit over the past year and a half.
We now know that people East of the Cooper are ready and even eager to ride the bus.  The do however need service which runs on time at the locations indicated and which they can reach from their home or nearby parking and wait for the bus to arrive in reasonable safety and comfort.
The East Cooper Connector 401 and Island Flex 402routes didn’t achieve that goal due to operational issues and construction disruptions.  However our successful 40 and Express Routes show transit can work here.  We need to be sure that these new routes build on that success so they can reduce traffic congestion and provide mobility to the half of the population East of the Cooper which can’t drive a car, a portion of the population which will grow rapidly as the average age or residents increase and younger people seek alternative to car ownership.

We are now working with American’s for Transit, a nationwide coalition of riders, drivers and transit organizations to build a national consensus and electoral support for better transit in North America with the goal of effectively activating 30 million riders for better American transit in two years.  Preliminary efforts working with voters have already been made in the Lowcountry and we’ve supported the transit building effort in Columbia, SC as well.
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