Charleston, South Carolina – Emphasizing a motto of ‘ride, relax, and enjoy more beach time,’ Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) provides its Beach Reach service, a free ride to and from local beaches.
Despite an initially lukewarm response to the initiative, CARTA leaders acknowledge its gradual growth and consider it a project under continual improvement.
“This is the third year,” CARTA Chairman Mike Seekings said. “The first year did not have a lot of publicity (because) we did it at the last minute. We had some really bad breaks with the weather and the ridership was slow, but growing at the end of the summer, it was pretty good.”
The Mayor of Isle of Palms (IOP), Phillip Pounds, is a staunch supporter of the Beach Reach service.
“The folks that came to the board meeting a year ago were challenged in a couple ways, physically and mentally, and this was the only way they could get to our beach,” Pounds said.
In a bid to boost ridership, CARTA is adopting a fresh approach, focusing on social media promotion. They also encourage riders to bring along their beach necessities like coolers, chairs, and bags, as long as these items don’t inconvenience other passengers.
“Try to go with rule of reason,” Seekings said. “In your arms and around you is okay. Please don’t fill up rows or areas of the bus,” Seekings says.
CARTA officials underline that Beach Reach is designed to ease the stress associated with traffic and parking concerns, with a hopeful outlook towards the program’s longevity.
“I suspect it’s here to stay,” Seekings said. “CARTA, the Town of Mount Pleasant, the Isle of Palms are all committed to this program.”
The Beach Reach shuttle operates every weekend and holiday Mondays, commencing on May 27, extending up to the Labor Day weekend on September 4.