CARTA buses offer free rides to students

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With school back in session, the CARTA bus system is focusing on providing accessible transportation for students in the Lowcountry.

CARTA offers free rides to all K-12 students throughout its entire service area, and also provides a number of free routes that college students in downtown Charleston can take advantage of, including the Downtown Area Shuttle, also known as Dash; and Route 20, which services King and Meeting Streets.

CARTA Chairman Mike Seekings says while they are committed to providing service to all of their customers from young to old, getting young people involved in public transportation is important to show them it’s accessible, convenient and safe.

“When we see school children getting on the bus it really makes us really proud of our system, and our community and their embracing and using public transit because we know going forward, without it it’s going to be problematic,” Seekings said.

Along with implementing a bus replacement program and replacing 80 percent of its buses with new electronic battery-powered buses, last week CARTA received approval for a federally funded Lowcountry rapid transit, which is a dedicated transit lane running from Ladson to downtown Charleston.

While CARTA says they don’t have the metrics of how free student rides have impacted CARTA buses as a whole, they say overall, offering free rides to school children has helped improve their ridership.

CARTA says its demand reaches places such as the Charleston Peninsula to Rivers Avenue and they hope to continue to serve areas where demand is met and needed.