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MUSC, CARTA celebrate a year of
by Cindy Abole
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
“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
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 http://www.whydrive.net.
Friday, March 14, 2008
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