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MUSC, CARTA celebrate a year of service

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
With hundreds of commuting miles behind them, MUSC leadership, employees and students are smiling, thanks to a partnership with Charleston’s public transit system. 
On Feb. 7, supporters marked the yearlong partnership between MUSC and the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) and its park-and-ride express service to five locations—North Charleston, West Ashley, Mount Pleasant (two stops) and James Island. The service offers more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students a stress-free, money-saving alternative to their weekday commute to MUSC and downtown Charleston. Perhaps the program’s greatest incentive is that MUSC subsidizes the cost of monthly CARTA Express passes. Employees pay only $5 per month (a $64/month value).
For CARTA, the partnership proved to be a successful effort that would help restore the fledgling transit system since its establishment in 1996 with eight area member governments. Twelve years later and with steady funding from a half-cent sales tax increase passed in 2004, CARTA ridership is popular and growing.
“Everybody loves it,” said Debby Humbert, with University Parking Management, who helps manage the sale of CARTA passes to MUSC commuters. Reports show a total of 1,168 employees and students who’ve purchased CARTA Express passes throughout the first year of the partnership. Employees and students may purchase monthly passes at the Parking Management office, second floor, Parking Garage II on President Street.
“We’re pleased that this service has been embraced by both employees and students,” said Christine Wilkinson, CARTA transit administrator. “People have a mindset that commuting on public transportation is more of a hassle than a convenience. What  they don’t realize is that commuting saves people stress and gives back hours of valuable lost time in the day.”
CARTA Express operates weekdays between 5:15 and 9:30 a.m. and 3 and 7:30 p.m., with drop-offs at the Charleston Visitor Center, Calhoun/St. Phillip streets and Calhoun/Jonathan Lucas streets. Last fall, CARTA explored possibilities of providing extended service to the Summerville area, but the proposal was suspended due to lack of funds and local government support.
Also within the year, CARTA teamed with MUSC and Roper Hospital to erect a bus shelter at the corner of Calhoun and Jonathan Lucas streets. The joint effort provided the necessary funds to construct the shelter, thus protecting Express riders from inclement weather as they wait for the bus. Last month, CARTA announced the expansion of the Mount Pleasant express route, which features the Super Wal-Mart on S.C. Hwy. 17-North as the new starting point of service.
“I anticipate that University Parking Management and CARTA will continue to find ways to increase the flexibility of our parking and commuting system with additional options for employees and students,” said Melinda Anderson, University Parking Management director. “This is the best position for MUSC’s parking system. It provides a great complement and improvement to our services.”
For information and schedules, visit

Friday, March 14, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.