Who we are
East Cooper CARTA Riders is a transit advocacy group focused on the East Cooper Area: Mt. Pleasant, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Our primary service provider is CARTA, the Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority. Our area is also served by Links, which connects rural areas to the CARTA system.
East Cooper is urbanizing and moving from a culture solely depending on private automobiles, into a place where many more people are riding transit, walking, or taking their bikes. Area municipal governments are planning development and redevelopment with transit, pedestrians and the bicycle in mind. Transit ridership has grown steadily here, despite budget driven service reductions since CARTA resumed full scale operation in 2005.
While the automobile will continue to be a major component of mobility for many people in our area for years to come, we’ve reached the point where economics, family structure and time constraints prevent significant expansion of automobile use. About half the population here can’t drive a car, and as a result many rely on family for transportation, and accept lives limited by that dependency.
Our goals are:
- Make using transit here more accessible, easier, more reliable and efficient
- Commitment to a contributory model for progress and change
- Bring public support, additional ridership and revenue to the table
- Partner, promote, petition, organize and occasionally protest to ensure services offer a safe and punctual ride to those in need
What we do
Hungryneck Straphangers beings an intense local focus to the system which moves riders around between the beaches and the Wando River. We extend a commitment to help improve transit throughout the entire Lowcountry, so our opportunities to move don’t end at the Ravenel Bridge.
Our direct action ensures that:
- Public input and ideas are being considered for expansion, modification or termination in CARTA’s competitive route evaluation process. To this end we have been instrumental in planning the new 410 East Cooper Connector Route, bringing over 300 people into that process.
- System performance is monitored and input is transmitted to CARTA and others about the on time performance of the bus lines, and that condition and safety issues are met with the help of hundreds of riders.
- Other organizations such as schools and churches are empowered to become transit riders, and to equip these riders with the information and tools to plan and execute satisfying trips. This connection brings local individuals and tourists needed services within the community.
- Business and transportation works together in difficult economic times, making jobs easier to get to, customers easier to bring in, and tenants easier to contract.
- CARTA and local governments cooperate to improve stop locations, sidewalks and road crossings, to make transit safer and more comfortable to access. We keep the focus on the needs of those with disabilities, who most depend on transit to live their lives.
- Promotional events which raise transit’s profile here are visible, and that everyone who rides will have a little fun during the process.
- We are able to launch scalable ideas that are innovative, appropriate to an area of our size and have been proven in other communities around the world.
- We engage officials serving in and running for public office in discussion to consider how transit is increasingly important to our economy and quality of life in the East Cooper area.
How you can help
Ride the bus. Ultimately that’s what we’re about and what makes everything work. Bring family and friends with you for a ride, and introduce to them them what local transit can do. Shop, get to work, head to the beach, or go downtown on the bus.
Report on your experiences as a rider here using our feedback form. We’ll collect all the input we get and share it with transit officials. They can’t fix problems they don’t know about.
Come to events and meetings, bring your ideas and input. Remember a drawing, marked map or written statement is always better than spoken words alone. Bring more than one copy to share, and when necessary get the media involved.
Let your elected officials know you ride. Stand up for transit during public meetings and debates. Vote for candidates who understand and care about transit. Make sure your elected officials ride at least once in a while, listen and respond respectfully, recognizing there will always be more need than resources.
Let merchants, landlords and institutions know you’re glad you can reach them on transit when you’re visiting them.
Take notes you travel on public transportation, and let us know what is out there around the world. See the Paris Metro. Try the San Paulo rapid transit bus. Slide down the streets of Portland on these beautiful electric trains. Write it up and we’ll put in on our blog.
Follow our updates on through our Facebook group, blog and Twitter feeds.
Park the car. Meet your neighbors. Take a ride. Let’s get where our community needs to go in the future.