Express Commuter to Work
Express Bus, Connected Commuting without Stress
The CARTA Express Bus provides commuters to and from Downtown Charleston with a swift trip to work or downtown during which they can relax, use electronic devices or chat with friends while CARTA sweats the traffic. The CARTA Express buses feature forward facing upholstered seating, climate controlled interiors and large windows. All Express routes are now incorporated into the Google Transit system, allowing you to generate trip intineraries and maps automatically based on the starting location and destination you enter. Here is the Official CARTA Schedule for the Express.
Higher fares support premium service here, with frequent runs during the morning and afternoon commute. Many passengers receive free or discounted passes from their employers who find it is cheaper to subsidize employee transit than to build parking lots or garages on expensive downtown land. Virtually all riders use prepaid, discount passes on this service.
The Express can be a huge time saver for riders, where the auto dependent often find themselves locked in the glacial traffic over the huge bridge which was promised to end our traffic problems. While drivers fret and study the bumper in front of them, express drivers read the paper, chat with neighbors and tap away at their connected gadgets.
The route between the stops that the Express Buses take varies based on time of day and traffic and traffic conditions. It makes its initial pickup of passengers at Oakland Plantation Shopping Center in front of the Super Wal-Mart out in the Parking Lot. Riders are welcome to park at the Wal-Mart and will find shelter from rain or cold in the store’s vestibule. In good weather, there are benches on the sidewalk. The stop is out in the parking lot, however so be sure to be there when the bus makes it short visit. If you miss the Express, the #40 Mount Pleasant Bus runs to Charleston and the Visitor’s Center from a covered stop at Walmart on the right side, near the Garden Center.
People traveling to or from Awendaw and McClellenville can connect at Oakland with the Tri County Link C203 bus for those trips.
After the bus leaves Oakland Plantation, it travels to K-Mart at the Intersection of Highway 17 and Bowman Road. The stop is located on the NE side of the Parking lot, the end away from McDonalds and Bowman Road. Here is a google link to the Kmart Express bus stop, which is actually about 300 feet North of the indicated location.
The #40 Mount Pleasant Bus outbound now stops on Bowman Road adjacent to the Southern entrance to the Kmart Parking lot, enabling outbound intermediate connections along North 17 including Wando Crossing Shopping Center, Town Centre, and Six Mile Road. The 401 bus no longer stops in this area and had been replaced by the Coleman Blvd. 41 which serves the other side of Mount Pleasant.
K-Mart’s Express Bus Waiting area is somewhat stark. East Cooper CARTA riders is advocating some upgrades. At present, most riders wait in their cars, preferring social isolation to the limited charms of worn, weed studded buffalo grass filling the void between road construction and a 1970s era parking lot. The K-Mart however is an uncrowded shopping opportunity with Craftsmen tools.
The best views from the Ravenel Bridge are on the Express Buses, which feature the highest passenger elevation over the road surface of any equipment running on the CARTA system. The view of the two rivers, harbor, historic city and bridge can be stunning. The pedestrian and cyclist traffic on Wonders way which often includes lightly clothed well conditioned people, can be socially interesting. Many Express Riders, however, scarcely look up from their Kindles or Laptops.
Express Riders bang away at Email and facebook while stunning views roll by, preferring not to consider what their day might be like if the economy wasn’t compelling them to sit behind a desk at the hospital, bank or college. Some of the people on Wonders Way are enjoying the sunlight, while counting the weeks they have left on unemployment and wishing that they had a desk to commute to. Life is that way.
Once on the bus, you’re in downtown Charleston in under 20 minutes, headed to stops near the Visitors Center, College of Charleston and the MUSC/Medical Complex. Downtown, you can transfer to the Express line which runs between North Charleston and James Island in the unlikely circumstance that someone from East of the Cooper would every choose to go to those places in a hurry. The Express bus also connect to the Free DASH Bus system which serves the downtown historic district. Just dismount at the Visitor’s Center and walk 150 feet West to the stop on John Street.
After Charleston, the bus continues southwest to Citadel Mall, where it turns around to bring West Ashley commuters into Charleston.