Private Sector Leaders Help Fund Free CARTA Service for Eastsiders; Challenge Community to Help

Update: 12/20/16 at 5:15 pm: Thanks to anonymous sources, total donations are now over $46,000.

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Mickey Bakst of Feed the Need and Belmond Charleston Place, Hilton and Catherine Smith, East Bay Company, Neil Robinson, Sean Litton of Peninsula Company, Tony McAlister of McAlister Development Company and Blackbaud are donating a combined $38,500 to extend free service on Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority’s (CARTA) King Street Route 20.

The contribution equals an additional six months of free service for an area of the city heavily affected by the fall closure of the Bi-Lo on Meeting Street. CARTA has provided free service on the route since October – and seen a 50 percent increase in ridership during that time – and will continue to do so through January 2017.

However, Bakst and Co. don’t want to stop at the six months they’ll be providing. They’re also challenging others in the Charleston business community to get involved and fund an entire year of service on Route 20.

“When you look at how Charleston is changing, how its long-time residents are being impacted, I think it is incumbent upon leaders in the business community to step in and help,” said Bakst. “Food is important to our city’s identity and it’s a core essential for everyone. We have to make sure that all residents have access to groceries. It’s the right thing to do.”

For those looking to get involved, checks should be made to Meet the Needs Charleston – a 501 (c)(3) that will transfer the funds to CARTA. The address is 275 Beech Hill Lane, Mount Pleasant 29464.

Route 20 runs along King Street and Meeting Street between Heriot Street and Broad Street. It serviced the former Bi-Lo and includes a stop in front of the Food Lion on King Street. Food Lion is providing passengers with $2 coupons – the price of standard CARTA fare – through the end of the year.

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