CARTA sees passenger increase, seeks funding for new buses

CARTA sees passenger increase, seeks funding for new buses
Published: Apr. 15, 2015 at 10:17 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Since 2014, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority, or CARTA, saw an increase of more than 20,000 passengers who use the transportation service.

Interim Executive Director Jeff Burns credits the rise to heavy traffic congestion throughout the Charleston area, and quality service.

"Without CARTA, there would be thousands of cars more on the road," he said.

In a board meeting Wednesday, members announced the transit service made strides in its ridership, but is still facing an uphill battle with funding.

CARTA operates 122 vehicles, of which approximately 15 are described as having "useful life."

Burns said replacing all the vehicles at once would cost $41 million, which is why board members are looking at a replacement cycle over the next several years.

Members approved a motion to apply for a federal grant, although highly competitive, through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Burns said more than 5000 applications went in for the grant over the last five years, with just over 200 approved funding.

Wednesday, members also announced the sale of property off Dorchester Road and Montague Avenue in North Charleston, money that will now be used in part to complete the Intermodal Center Project at the old Amtrak site on Gaynor Street.

It's described as a transportation hub, housing Amtrak, Southeastern Stages, and CARTA.

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