#401 – 05/17/11

Survey Ride- May 17, 2011

Note:  Ann J. Owens, author of this report is the Chairman of the ECCR Route 401 East Cooper Connector Committee.  An experienced transit rider on three continents and community activist, she and her husband both hold Commercial Driver’s Licenses for large vehicles, including buses.  Ann can be contact by email at asjo1952@gmail.com
Having ridden the 401 East Cooper Connector previously, I was familiar with the bus stops and where the route began. This time I parked in the Whole Foods parking lot and crossed Houston Northcutt to the bus stop which is clearly marked for the 401. It is also a stop for the 40 bound for Charleston. This is not indicated on the sign, nor is a contact telephone number for CARTA. I recommend that all the buses numbers that frequent a stop be listed as well a contact number. There are two concrete benches located in front of the bus sign which is nice because every time I have passed that location recently when a bus is due, the benches have been full.

A Google Map overview of the stops on the Houston Northcutt portion of the 401Image, Right, Bus Stop Location and Vicinity, Houston Northcutt 401crst001

I chatted with the other people (3 women) who were waiting for the 40 Trans Mount Pleasant. The sentiment was that that side of the street needs a shelter from the sun. The other side of the street near the entrance to Mount Pleasant Town Hall has a shelter as well as oak trees shading it. Yesterday was cool by comparison, but all of us either had sunglasses or a hat on. Then the concrete benches could be moved to other location. I would also suggest that this area as well as other bus stops on dirt be sprayed for fire ants. I was bit several times on my sandaled feet.

The 401 bus arrived at 2:14pm. It was due at 2:07pm so it wasn’t terribly late. It does get in ahead of the 40 which is convenient for anyone transferring to Charleston. I was the only passenger on the bus. The driver was in training with the regular driver on board.

It must be noted that the Houston Northcutt stop (401crst001) is mismarked on the 401 map and doesn’t even show it coming on that road.

This bus stop is hard to see due to visibility.  At Hungryneck and Market Place Blvd it is the worst, as shown in this picture.A few of the bus stop signs are difficult to see because of low hanging branches and moss or shrubbery.  The worst is the stop on Hungaryneck Blvd. near Market Place Blvd. I would recommend that stop be moved to the other side of the stop light where there is more room to stand and shade is provided by the trees. The bus stop sign on Chuck Dawley at Myrick has been knocked down and should be replaced.

Riders did get on at Egypt Road near the Food Lion, ECCO on Six Mile Road, and Sea Island Shopping Center. Two of those riders were connecting to the 40 on Hungryneck. Once all 3 passengers were on board and they knew I was taking notes on the Route, they had several suggestions:

An image of the bus stopped in front of Goodwill at Six MileImage, Right, 401 bus at Six Mile Goodwill, note that actual stop is on other side of building, between Goodwill and ECCO on Six Mile Road.

Riders Suggestions Received On Board

1) Another bike rack could be added to the back of the bus. Both drivers thought this was a safer location for those drivers behind the bus to see the bikes being loaded and unloaded. There have been a few times when there wasn’t enough space for additional bikes, since only 2 can currently be loaded on the front rack.

2) Get businesses to place ads on the bus stops to cover the coast of construction. They really want shelters.

3) Amend the 401 route to turn right on Royal when headed east on Coleman Blvd. Take it to McCants Drive. Cross over onto Rifle Range at the light. Go down to Bowman at the traffic circle and take Bowman back up to Highway 17.

4) Amend the 401 route when leaving Watermark onto Bowman and turning left onto Chuck Dawley.  Take Chuck Dawley all the way down to Sea Island Shopping Center before yielding right on Coleman Blvd.

5) Amend the 401 route to continue down Six Mile to Rifle Range Road. Turn right on Rifle Range taking it to the IOP Connecter then back up to Hungryneck, turning left at the stop light.

6) The riders also suggested that the 402 go to Sullivans Island on the regular IOP schedule for the people who work there.
When the 401 brochure is corrected, it should include more stops with times by using up that empty space on the inside right page.  If you need assistance creating a new brochure, I have 35 years experience in that field.

Though not feasible at this time, they all wanted the route to have more buses so that they came every 20 minutes.

Other items of note:

1) Time will be saved once the construction on Bowman Road and VonKolentz is completed. Trying to drive on Mathis Ferry in the afternoon is very slow.

2) There is no time built in for a driver to take a bathroom break. The East Cooper Hospital is the best location.  A 5 minute stopover should be built into the schedule.

3) The air conditioning on the bus is fabulous. Summertime riders will definitely appreciate it.

4) The regular bus driver who took over the driving at Sweetgrass Parkway is very informed about the route. She is pleasant, knows her regular riders and even recognized me from my previous ride.

The bus arrived back at the #1 stop exactly an hour later.

Recommended Placement for Bus Stop Signs:

Shem Creek
Watermark near the condos and large company located across the street
VonKolentz at Hospital Drive,
Whipple at Snee Farm stoplight
Charles Pinckney Historical Site
An image of a bland bus stop that is at Hungryneck and Sweetgrass Shopping CenterHungaryneck Blvd at Sweetgrass Shopping Center (near the Bi-Lo) (The 40 and 402 should also be listed on the sign)

Image, left, stop at Sweetgrass Shopping Center, W of IOP Connector, N. Side Hungryneck Blvd.

Recommended Locations for Covered Bench:

ECCO on Six Mile Road
The new MUSC Medical Building under construction on Watermark

Recommended Areas to Receive Bus Information

Watermark homes, condos and businesses.
Both Goodwill Stores
All grocery and drugstores stores on the route
Jones Recreation Center

Note: Suggestions and Reccomendations in ECCR Survey Reports may not represent the official position of East Cooper CARTA riders.  Reccomendations to the CARTA Staff and Board of Directors are selected monthly at the organization’s meetings.  Input from all at those meetings is welcome.  You may submit your own input to East Cooper CARTA Riders using our Online Feedback Form

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