CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority officials today announced that for the next 30 days the transit system’s King Street Route 20 will be free of charge to riders.
The move, approved at the Sept. 28 CARTA board meeting, is intended to assist Charleston residents affected by the recent closure of the Bi-Lo on Meeting Street. Route 20 services both the former Bi-Lo site and the King Street Food Lion on its north-south routing.
“This is a situation where the public needs support and public transportation in the region is stepping up by facilitating access to food,” said CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings. “We’re going to do what we can to help mitigate this issue in the near-term. In the coming weeks we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to attract partners in this effort, including Food Lion, which will no doubt see increased business due to Bi-Lo’s closure.”
The free service will run from September 29 to October 29 and will extend only to Route 20. The CARTA board will re-evaluate the situation, examining ridership impacts and costs, at its regularly scheduled meeting on October 19.
“This could very much be a chance to expand our growing CARTA Commerce program, which is successfully engaging businesses for community benefit,” Seekings said of the recently launched initiative in which area businesses offer perks to customers with transit passes. To date, about a dozen merchants have signed on to the program.