Community Pubilc Transit Advocates Meet in Atlanta

Atlanta, GA- We just returned from two days at the Transportation Excellence Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.   It was wonderful to meet public transit advocates from around the nation and learn about what’s happening.  While our national politics remains polarized and immobile, on the local level necessity still brings people together.

Ric Bryant(R) speaks to Express Bus Riders in Charleston on Feb. 28

Ric Bryant(R) speaks to Express Bus Riders in Charleston on Feb. 28

We heard from advocates in City after City who had helped resurrect seemingly dead public transit initiatives which required tax increases because they did the face to face work needed to persuade people that their cities needed to put in the effort and resources to help everyone move beyond gridlock.  Many people have begun to move beyond transit to work on the critical links between community and the transit system: walkable transit oriented development, pedestrian and bike safety, education and the needs of Senior Citizens.

Hungryneck Straphangers participated in a very energized grass roots activist forum on Sunday afternoon focusing on our efforts in the recent special congressional election here, Farebox to Ballot Box.  While we weren’t completely successful in getting both candidates to focus on the transit issue, it turned out that our efforts here were viewed as a significant experiment in advancing how transit in inserted into the national public political dialogue.  Our post cards at the bus stops effort to get candidates to ride was very well received and will clearly be replicated across the country.  The non partisan approach to reaching the electorate with focused questions on the transit issue was also received with favor.

An incidental reference to our current benches at the bus stops effort also raised a lot of interest.

Joining us in Atlanta were members of the Midlands Transit Riders Association from Columbia, SC.  They’re currently pushing for full implementation of the improved and extended transit system for the Midlands approved by voters in the November 2012 referendum there, in which their efforts delivered the margin of victory.

On Monday we participated in an round table discussion about building a pro public transit grass roots advocacy network in the Southeastern US, under the leadership of Americans for Transit.  Activists from Columbia, Atlanta, Tampa, Charlotte, Raleigh and Texas all participated.

Upcoming Riders’ Advocacy Event

Citizen's Hearing on Public Transit

SC State Senator Marlon Kimpson and Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. invite the people of the SC Lowcountry to the first Citizen’s Hearing on Public Transit on Tuesday, August 4 from 6 to 8 pm. at the International Longshoreman’s Hall at 1142 Morrison Dr, in Charleston, SC. The Longshoreman’s Hall is on the CARTA 11, 10, 20 & 104 Bus lines.

This will be an old fashioned type of public hearing. Anyone present will be given the opportunity to speak to the entire gathering, to put up images for everyone to see and to file written comments in a publically available internet archive.

Local organizations and campaigns will be offered the opportunity to setup information tables. However we’re asking political candidates to present their thoughts at public forums to be held in the fall and to use this opportunity to hear from the public. We record the entire hearing and stream it to the internet.

Food trucks will be available in the parking lot to provide evening meals for those present.

Input received at this hearing will be used to help Senator Kimpson and Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit shape their respective plans for moving our region towards more efficient and useful public transit in the next year.

Full information on this effort can be found at