CARTA testing free rides on Route 20 following downtown Bi-Lo closure

There’s such a thing as a free ride

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DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
In response to the closing of the Meeting Street Bi-Lo, which catered to the needs of many mid-peninsula residents, CARTA has stepped up to help those in the area access fresh food and produce.

For the next 30 days, CARTA’s King Street Route 20, which extends from Broad to Mt. Pleasant streets, will be free to Charleston residents. This offer will last until Oct. 29 and will only apply to Route 20 buses. See the full Route 20 schedule at RideCarta.com

The Bi-Lo was originally scheduled to close on Oct. 5, but the location’s liquidation sale quickly emptied the store. Responding to public outcry, CARTA acknowledges that the affected area will become a semi-food desert due to lack of fresh produce and other goods.

CARTA
  • CARTA
“We’re going to do what we can to help mitigate this issue in the near-term,” said CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings. “In the coming weeks, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to attract partners in this effort, including Food Lion, which will no doubt see increased business due to Bi-Lo’s closure.”

Seekings added that this new plan could be a chance to expand CARTA’s growing CARTA Commerce program, which partners with community businesses to offer special perks to customers with transit passes.

Route 20 caters to the areas around the upper King Street Food Lion, as well as a nearby CVS Pharmacy. The route also runs past the former Bi-Lo location. The next CARTA board meeting will be held on Oct. 19, and ridership impacts and costs resulting from the program will be re-evaluated at that time.


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