Eliminating night service, raising fares among CARTA cost-saving talks

By Tracey Amick  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hopping on the bus in the Lowcountry could soon cost you more money and you might not be able to catch a ride at night.
Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority officials met Wednesday to present recommendations for service reduction and fare increases.
The recommendations are a result of CARTA's quarterly performance review.

One option discussed Wednesday would eliminate CARTA at night and save more than $267,000.

Another option is to raise rates across the board by 16 percent. Under this plan, the normal base fare would jump from $1.50 to $1.75. This would be the first rate increase since October of 2008.

Another option would be to eliminate two routes. Officials discussed eliminating Route 106 Otranto/Stall and the Mt. Pleasant to West Ashley Express Route 2.

Officials are also considering combining routes 211 and 212, which run to the market, the waterfront, King Street and Meeting Street. Those changes alone would save more than $460,000.

Another option is eliminating bus service on Sunday, which would save $700,000.

Wednesday was just the first step in the process. Some CARTA riders expressed their feelings about potential changes, like Michael Burbage who said he rides a number of routes every day.

"If ya'll wanna cut the routes y'all might as well cut everything out you might as well throw the whole thing in the garbage throw the board in the garbage," said Burbage. "They should keep all the routes they gotten."

Next, there will be public hearings held downtown, in West Ashley and in North Charleston. Then, the issue will go back to the board for a final decision, likely by August.

The fare increases and route changes would be go into effect on October 1.

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