Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Traditionally, transit ridership numbers slump in July, as regular riders take vacations and students are out of school. Still, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) managed to post a 2 percent ridership increase over July 2013 – the best July total ridership in the system's history at nearly 430,000.
The numbers in Mount Pleasant were especially encouraging:
The No. 41 Coleman Boulevard route posted a record ridership of 3,335 rides in July, an increase of nearly 60 percent over last year. The No. 41 runs between the downtown Charleston Visitor Center, over the Ravenel Bridge, down Coleman Boulevard and turns around at the Bi-Lo on Ben Sawyer Boulevard.
The No. 40 Mount Pleasant Route increased ridership by nearly 20 percent year over year, moving a total of 14,201 passengers. The No. 40 runs between Wando High School, along Highway 17 and Johnnie Dodds Boulevard to the visitor center in downtown Charleston.
The No. 2 Express Route moved a total of nearly 9,000 riders in July. Like all CARTA Express routes, the No. 2 offers fast, stop-limited trips to commuters heading to MUSC, downtown and West Ashley.
Visits to the Hungryneck Straphangers website were also up in July, with many visitors going to the site's Google Maps and Bus Tracker how-to page. Those tools allow riders to plan trips online or on smartphones and to learn the exact ETA of their bus.
Visitors also seemed keen to “Park Pleasantly and Play Downtown.” The campaign is aimed at boosting Mount Pleasant's economy with hotel stays while using public transit to travel to the peninsula.
CARTA is asking all Lowcountry residents to encourage Charleston International Airport to install a shelter as part of its $100 million renovation project. In July, Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page (a former CARTA board member and current member of the Aviation Commission) was instrumental in finally getting a bench installed at the bus stop at the airport, providing riders with a comfortable place to sit while waiting.
For detailed information on using public transit east of the Cooper, contact Hungryneck Straphangers online at www.busec.org or call 843-870-5299.
Hungrneck Straphangers is a nonprofit community organization working since 2009 for better public transit in East Cooper. This fall, the organization is looking for community partners willing to assist with awareness-raising work that will help push ridership higher and build a solid foundation for the community's transit system.