Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Runoff for Rapid Transit in Charleston- Choose the Faster Mayor

Image, right, the signatures of both candidates appear on the community commitment to transit signed three years ago.

Note- You can now download a printable flyer of this content similar to the one being handed out in Charleston.  This blog contains the same content, but with hyperlinks to detailed background. Please consider the issues carefully and vote for the candidate of your choice on Nov. 19. Don't forget about the City Council Dist. Runoff race if you live in that part of the city. These issues apply there. 

The two men competing to become the next Mayor of Charleston in the Nov. 19th. runoff have both has exceptional influence over the quality and future of our transit service. Both have served on the CARTA board. Mayor Tecklenberg appoints three members to the CARTA Board. Councilman Seekings has served as CARTA board Chairman for over three years. Both men are active in the planning process of planning our inexcusably delayed and long promised Lowcountry Bus Rapid Transit line that’s start date is currently threatening to slip back another year to 2026, ten years after voter approval.

Indianapolis voted to build their Bus rapid transit system the same day Charleston County did in November 2016. The Indianapolis red line began running in September 2019, two years and ten months after voter approval and currently carries over 7 thousand riders a day. The ten years the BCD Council of Governments claims it needs to built a bus rapid transit line is over twice the amount of time needed to build a BRT type system anywhere on Earth in the history of the world. With costs rising over a million dollars a month, these delays of endless, repetitive planning that’s beginning now receded twenty years into the past cannot be reconciled with a good faith effort to get the job done.

Four Critical Transit Questions for Charleston's Next Mayor

Please ask the men who want to be the next Mayor of Charleston these four questions. They already know the answers to these questions. The only question is will they provide an honest response and commit to a responsible role in the process for the power they seek to hold.

  1. Will you commit to having the Bus Rapid Transit line between Summerville and Charleston completed during your next term of office and to commence operations on or before November 1, 2023?  Overview of the Bus Rapid Transit line project.
  2. Will you commit to run the rapid transit line into the City of Charleston on the old CSX rail line beneath I26 as part of the Lowline project between Mt. Pleasant Street and Line Street instead of attempting to operate rapid transit in the congested traffic of meeting street?
  3. Will you reject and repeal the secretly approved “Pay Go Plan” which has diverted over 25 million dollars in funding to improve regular CARTA and LINK Bus service in Charleston in Charleston County into an interest free loan fund for suburban road construction and to implement the bus route service frequency  improvements called for by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry in their 2019 Nehemiah Action?
  4. Will you commit to funding an effort by public and private partners to increase transit ridership in the City of Charleston by not less than 20% before the end of your next term and hold the persons responsible accountable for their performance  in that effort by publication of details of their efforts and route ridership figures? Stop the decline in our quality of life caused by rising congestion. 
right, Mary Smith, costumed at Syphide the Spirit of Motion. She died last month due to health problems aggravated by inadequate transit services after eight years of working for better transit. On occasions she waited in the rain for overdue buses at unsheltered stops getting soaking wet, while the inside of her body felt like it was on fire.

Demand Answers, Vote

Voting in this year’s municipal elections was anemic. It reflects a lack of public interest and confidence in the democratic process. While failure in city planning, education and traffic may be accepted, Best Friends does not accept or enable failure in the area of transit. We seen third world countries like Bangladesh and Ethiopia enjoying superior transit service to what we have in the Lowcountry. They can take a bus to the beach, while the ocean remains inaccessible to local workers who depend on the bus. This runoff is the time to make the impact of the transit rider vote felt in the holy city.

Ask Seekings and Tecklenberg to answer these questions. Let us know what they say. Make your choice. If you live in the Council District with a runoff between Candidates Lewis and Sakran, pleae ask them these questions as well.

Contact Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. 

You can support our work by making a tax deductible contribution through Act Blue.

William Hamilton, Executive Director, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc.
171 Church Str. Ste. 160, Charleston, SC 29401 c (843) 870-5299, (843) 577-5231,

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