Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Location for Mt. Pleasant Arts Center Should be Transit Oriented

 By William Hamilton

Executive Director, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit-
Resident- 32 Sowell St., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Ph. (843) 870-5299 or

Presented to Mt. Pleasant Town Council on March 14, 2023. 

At the end of his remarks, William Hamilton offered to restore and donate his late wife Julia's beloved 1920 mahogany Ivers and Pond Piano to the new art center. Julia was a stalwart supporter of music East of the Cooper, founding and performing with I'Onissimo! for ten years and playing 1st violin in the Mt. Pleasant orchestra. Julia played the large parlor grand instrument for 50 years. 

The proposed East Cooper Plaza location for an Arts Center is far more useful to the community and will generate less traffic because it can be served by strong public transit connections to outer Mount Pleasant and the Old Charleston area and transit hub. A greenfield site on currently undeveloped land on the north side of town would be impossible to reach by transit in the evenings and would have far larger environmental impacts.

I am the Executive Director of Best Friends of Lowcoutry Transit and run our East Cooper Hungryneck Straphangers unit. I have been riding public transit to and from the locations mentioned in this memo since 1978. I am a resident of I’On and take the bus into Charleston several times a week. Our organization is considered one of the leading Transit advocacy groups in the Southeastern US and the Town/Transit Teamwork effort which achieved a 308% increase in transit ridership in Mt. Pleasant between 2007 and 2012 is still a subject of national study today. Mount Pleasant wrote the book on suburban transit ridership development.

On the Reliable #40 Bus Line

East Cooper Plaza is currently on the reliable Mt. Pleasant #4O CARTA Bus line with stops right in front of the Plaza on it’s West end and in front of Sesame Burger just to the north, where two restaurants provide a pleasant place to wait for the bus and perhaps contribute to local economic activity and town tax revenue by enjoying a drink or meal. These restaurants and businesses also provide rain shelter while waiting. Transit riders don’t have the concerns about DUIs that car drivers have. While you can’t ride visibly inebriated, the professional drivers of CARTA, many with million mile perfect safety records are our designated drivers. The BP station also has snacks and a lighted place to wait out of the rain near the outbound stop.

For trips inbound to Charleston, there is a CARTA bus stop with a bench in front of First Reliance Bank, pm the frontage road across from CVS.. This inbound stop is also near Wood and Grain, Second State Coffee and several other pleasant places to eat or find a snack while waiting. The bank drive through provides rain shelter at this location. While the inbound stop could be improved by a shelter and the necessary space is available, it’s a perfectly acceptable all weather stop now.

Since inbound transit rides to Charleston require crossing Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit would recommend improved cross walk striping. Pedestrian push buttons are already in place and functional. Access to and from all directions is already fully sidewalked. The East Cooper Plaza location is also within walkable distance of over 1500 residences.

Student and Youth Visitors

Image, Right, Children planning future transit system for the Lowcountry.

Since this facility will have many student and youth visitors, who cannot drive access to transit provides a major opportunity to reduce traffic congestion. Parents or those assisting transportation challenged adults often make four trips between their origin point and the location of activity. One to take the young person to their practice or other activity, another to return to home or work, another  to pick the child up and finally another to return child and parent home or elsewhere. For students without a parent or guardian driver, youth cultural and civic opportunities are often inaccessible. Transit access is also of great value to Senior Citizens and the Differently Abled. Everyone who reaches this center buys tickets, fills seats and gains value for us all.

While it is a bit of a walk. The Coleman Blvd. #41 bus also has stops at extreme walkable distance of this location on Coleman Blvd. and Pelzer and Houston Northcutt, near town hall.

Image, left- Bus Stop at Mount Pleasant Town Hall, which with it's partner across the street linked by a world class pedestrian crossing with center Island is without question the finest bus stop on the CARTA system. 

The East Cooper Plaza location is also the closest available place for an arts center which could draw patronage from visitors staying at the Ravenel Gateway Hotels, all of which have very short, reliable transit links between Hotels and the Plaza.  It is also an easy ride from the transit hub at the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage downtown in Old Charleston, where CARTA lines link to the entire region and planned Lowcountry Rapid Transit System. Free DASH buses there bring tourists from throughout the city to make connections. If plays and concerts at our arts center are to succeed, strong transit is needed to fill seats. It’s also critical to provide access to the elderly and disabled.

If the town wants to take on a very ambitious cultural effort, this East Cooper Plaza Location, Town Hall, the Farmer’s Market, the I’On Mount Pleasant Amphitheater and Waterfront Park could all be effectively linked by a combination of existing CARTA public transit and town provided shuttles similar to that operated for the Blessing of the Fleet. Mt. Pleasant could go big with the sort of locally grounded cultural festival the City of Charleston, which has lost most of it’s citizen performers can no longer provide. Piccolo Spoleto was once a feast of local talent. Mt. Pleasant could take over that tradition with our own talent and voices, while Old Charleston services tourists with whatever out of town talent it chooses to market.

I attended a wonderful, but quite chilly Christmas concert on the lawn of Town Hall last December. The holidays remain hard on my because my beloved wife Julia, who filled our holidays with music as the leader of the I’Onissimo! Chamber Music organization was an accomplished violinist. The silence of the three Christmases since her death always burdens my heart. Hearing the music we shared performed by a local group of musicians and singers I knew filled by eyes with tears and drained away, for a precious hour, some of the grief and loss which arises from the silence of her piano and violin when Christmas trees glow. I remain grateful for that hour. I was able to find a ride with friends when holiday weekend surge pricing for Uber would have made the trips to and from town hall cost over sixty dollars.

Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit is already preparing a major summer 2023 effort called Bus Pirates, Queen Renee and her ladies in Raiding to support and build ridership on this summer’s Beach Reach Shuttle. We would be happy to reinvigorate our historically successful teamwork effort with the town to supercharge a cultural center at East Cooper Plaza with transit enabled access. We have ten years of experience producing cultural events in the I’On Community and 20 years of experience working to build transit ridership in Mount Pleasant. We can do this cheaply and effectively. We eager to help.

We’ll see you on the Bus.

Together, We Go Forward

William Hamilton

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Century Forward- City of New Charleston

North Charleston was founded on June 12, 1972. City of New Charleston will depart from the Lowcountry’s obsession with the past to imagine the possibilities of a Transit enabled, future adapted North Charleston at its centennial, fifty years ahead of now. 

Upcoming Events- We do more than talk about the future

Monday, March 13- Rally to Protect our Schools

See our Facebook Transit Events page for upcoming transit oriented events in this effort. 

See our Lowcountry Up is Good page for events involving the Schools, Affordable Housing, and the Living wage efforts. 

Sponsors and Background

Image, Left- Community Shrine Gazebo Bus Stop Shelter in Chicora Community Garden, North Charleston.

Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. & Lowcountry Up Is Good, PAC, Inc. have now been working towards a transit enabled North Charleston with many other organizations for 10 years. 

Marvin Pendarvis has been a partner in our efforts since he stepped on the #11 Dorchester Airport bus during his first campaign. He was impressed by the number of people riding in N. Charleston and shocked at how long and slow their bus trips were. From that moment, he's joined us in working for something better. So have many other officials and organizations focused on planning, affordable housing, human needs and education. 

Best Friends helped win the Transit Complete the Penny Campaign to fund construction of the LCRT in 2016. We worked with Rep. Marvin Pendarvis to obtain the SCDOT’s commitment to a complete streets policy in 2019 and are currently working with him to pass his Transit Oriented Development bill, no pending in the SC Legislature. In 2017 we canvassed every business we could reach along the full length of Rivers Ave. with information on the voter approved rapid transit project, helping start the ongoing transit planning process. In 2016 we build and deployed the Tiny House Fit for a King as part of what ultimately became a short lived tiny house village of five residences attached to a group home on Carner Ave. We’ve worked to improve the quality of life of residents in North Charleston with demonstrations and political actions to win the living wage and defend the independence of the community’s public schools. 

While we continue to work in other Lowcountry Communities and have dedicated projects on the Sea Islands, in Mt. Pleasant, in Lincolnville, Summerville and Ridgeville, we have always seen North Charleston as the Lowcountry’s essential hub. It still has functional communities focused on the needs of its own people. It has a magnificent store of installed infrastructure and will have the state’s first Rapid Transit System. While it struggles with problems and a sprawling, diverse landscape it has the potential for greatness as a home for the varied families of the future. 

The City of Charleston, while still essential to the region, has gentrified its urban care out of relevance to the future. It has largely become a tourist-oriented city of the past. It’s decision to accept having no portion of the planned rapid transit line within its boundaries, but instead to merely have LCRT buses operating in traffic south of Reynolds Ave. in N. Charleston is conclusive proof that while the future will happen to Charleston, the pressures of sea level rise and the need to accommodate competing for tourism income will shape its future.

A Year Long Effort Has Started 

Citadel Cadets and North Charleston Citizen, North Charleston Public School Teacher Jennifer Saunders planning a transit system for the Lowcountry at Park Circle Creamery in N. Charleston in October 2016 as  part of the Transit Complete the Penny Campaign. 

City of New Charleston will be a year long effort to imagine the transit enabled community of tomorrow which can grow up along and within one walkable mile of the LCRT line. 

The effort began on Feb. 23, 2023 when SC State Representative Marvin Pendarvis (D-CHS) introduced bill H. 4013 in the SC House of Representatives to amend Title 6 of the S. C. Code by adding Chapter 39 regarding Transit-Oriented Development Projects.

On March 1st. a lobbying, outreach team from Best Friends and Midland's Transit Riders went to the SC Statehouse to help build support for the Transit Oriented Bill, talking to over 250 people, including 50 members of the SC Legislature and SC DOT Transit office about the bill and planning a SC transit enabled future. We also made contact with over a dozen organizations representing the disabled, the Governor of SC, the University of SC and attended and leafleted a reception for all the State's transit agencies at the Columbia Convention Center. Co sponsors began signing on to the TOD bill by the end of the day. 

City of New Charleston will continue by organizing and funding a youth driven visioning project for the City’s future involving College and High School students across the state of South Carolina. These young citizens will be charged with imagining what the city could best become by its North Charleston centennial in 2072 and South Carolina’s Quadro Centennially in 2070. The students will use the internet and wireless technologies which have been integral to their life experience to share their work with the people of South Carolina, beginning with a preliminary statement of scope and goals before the end of the Spring, 2023 school term. 

An informal group discussion of the project is planned for Sunday Afternoon at Emergence, the burning may style event outside Summerville in April. 

There will be events sharing parts of the work with the community throughout the summer and early fall. Online and real world conferences, meetings and workshops will be held to both formulate detailed plans and to develop the real world capacity of these young people to lead the state towards a future which rewards its citizens with mobility, prosperity and the gifts of creative patrimony. 

North Charleston resident, the late Mary Smith, appearing as our Transit Fairy at the Atlanta International Transit Exhibition in 2018

The initial effort will conclude in late Fall of 2023 with the New Charleston Future Festival, where to the extent that we can, we’ll share all that they have learned and dreamed with the community and the entire state with participatory activities which will extend the creative process of shaping the future to everyone willing to join the effort. 

Once we have begun the future with the Festival, we’ll continue to support our young planners and visionaries as they join the traditional, often challenging effort to drive government controlled planning efforts towards the future they dream of, in N. Charleston an d across the state. 

The target for funding this effort is Eight Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($8,500.00) in cash funding, and an additional contribution in kind support of supplies, facilities and transportation services. Fifteen hundred dollars has already been raised by a grant of support from Marvin Pendarvis and the project can launch as soon as we have Twenty five hundred dollars committed, which will be sufficient to fund the largest visioning unit composed of undergraduates at one of the State’s Colleges or Universities for the first half of the project. 

More Information

Support and Contact Us

Friday, February 24, 2023

Pendarvis Introduces Bill to Accelerate Transit Oriented Development in SC


Image left- Representative Marvin Pendarvis rising the #11 CARTA Bus stopped at the Charleston International
Airport. Since this image was taken a lighted shelter has replaced the basic outdoor bench at this stop.

North Charleston, SC-
 Legislation introduced Public Transit carefully fitted into SC communities which are allowed to leverage the mobility it offers to everyone will help create walkable, urbanized areas with lower crime, higher incomes, more rewarding civic and cultural life and less traffic congestion.

On Feb. 23, 2003, SC State Representative Marvin Pendarvis (D-CHS) introduced a bill H. 4013 in the SC House of Representatives to amend Title 6 of the S. C. Code by adding Chapter 39 regarding Transit-Oriented Development Projects. It has been Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means.

Image, Right, PlanningMap for N. Charleston Community improvement Meeting, 2018.

The district Pendarvis represents contains most of the separated busway section of the State’s first planned rapid transit system, the Lowcountry Rapid Transit System (LCRT) online.  Charleston County voters approved funding for construction of the LCRT and other improvements to bus transit in November 2016. The LCRT is a Bus Rapid Transit system based on operation of articulated electric buses in dedicated bus only lanes, accelerated boarding and advanced electronic enabled wayfinding and fare payment.

The legislative findings set out in the bill begin by stating that, “Public Transit is a valuable element of providing mobility to the people of South Carolina and functions best in communities where density, walkable infrastructure, cycling and short distance transportation services can connect residents and workers efficiently between home, work, shopping, civic opportunities, recreation and education.” It goes on to note that transit benefits drivers by reducing congestion and making use of the existing roadways more efficient.

Children Planning Transit System on Large MapImage, Left, Children at N. Charleston Farmer's Market plannng model transit system for the Lowcountry on 12 x 16 foot map, October 2019

The bill notes that Transit benefits the disabled and other groups not often considered in making decisions about transportation planning, including “those who have lost their driver's license or lack insurance, reducing the number of illegal drivers on the road the costs of the collisions in which they are involved, which increases the cost of uninsured motorist insurance coverage.”

Unlike many bills introduced in the legislature which have been drafted by national special interest groups, this bill was drafted by Representative Pendarvis with the assistance of Lowcountry Transit riders, people who actually ride transit on a daily basis in his district. Research failed to find similar legislation in other states, so laws from other countries such as New Zealand and Canada were reviewed to help complete the proposed law. The law allows for establishing district and a district authority that can work with government and the private sector to build or redevelop neighborhoods, commercial properties and manufacturing facilities in areas where transit is or will be available.

Image, Right Jennifer  Saunders and the late Dave Crossley rampaging with Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit for passage of the half penny sales tax for Transit, Transportation and Greenspace during the Coastal Carolina Fair in October 2016.

The Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, The City of North Charleston, The City of Charleston and the Town of Lincolnville are already planning for improvements to the areas along the LCRT to create a safer, cleaner and more rewarding community where car ownership will not be a necessity. While this type of development can’t be constructed everywhere and may not be desired in other areas, its critical to the Elderly, Disabled, workers in Charleston’s critical hospitality Industry, Students and those otherwise unable or unwilling to drive to have some areas available in a region which are adapted to their needs.

Representative Pendarvis will now work with transit advocates, organizations working to build affordable housing and local governments to help the bill H. 4013 get the necessary committee hearings and votes in the house to cross over to the senate and ultimately be ratified by the Governor’s signature over the rest of the current two year legislative session. The LCRT is currently planned to begin rapid transit operation between the Fairgrounds in Ladson and MUSC in downtown Charleston in 2028.

Image, Left, Pizzeria Owner Ben D'Allesandro posting banner supporting improved transit in downtown Charleston, April 2017.

For more information on the Transit Oriented Development Bill see the full text at or see the Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. at online. Representative Pendarvis can be contacted through his legislative office at (803) 212-6716 or via online. Pendarvis is planning community forums to discuss this and other issues related to improving the quality of life in his district and elsewhere in SC in the future.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Bus to the Beach 2023

The CARTA board voted unanimously to run the IOP / Mt. Pleasant Beach Shuttle bus again for Summer, 2023 at its February meeting. A major effort to increase ridership is planned. This free shuttle connects to the rest of the CARTA system using the #40 Mt. Pleasant and #42 North 17 regular CARTA buses. 

We appreciate the board's commitment to making this service work. We're happy to commit to fully supporting the effort. 

Opening the Ocean Memorial Weekend

Thar be Bus Pirates ere

Beach Reach Shuttle Service will start on Memorial weekend. Best Friends will celebrate with the Opening of the Ocean, Bus Pirates on IOP event starting at 10:30 am on Saturday, May 27. The pirate queen will lead a procession from the Flag poles on Ocean Blvd. to the edge of the surf where she will cast the Key to the Sea into the waves to open the ocean. A day of celebration will follow. We'll have an information and activity tent on the beach. The parties will be at local businesses in the Front Beach District with food and drink specials and more. To learn about bus pirates, watch this informative video. 

Guided Group Trips-
After the first weekend, we'll be leading group rides from locations around the area to the beach. The Waylin Heart Team from North Charleston has already begun planning a neighborhood trip, a three bus hop from their neighborhood between Dorchester Road and Rivers Ave. in North Charleston, near Burns Elementary School. 

We're working a special weekend of events to help the disabled reach and enjoy the beach. We need lots of strong partners for that effort. 

You can return to this page for updates and more information. 

Park Pleasantly, Play Downtown, Summer 2023
If you're planning to bus to the beach and want good bus connections to downtown Charleston and the free DASH bus system serving the Tourist District, as well as the Brewery Trolly and the free #20 Upper King bus. The hotels around Mt. Pleasant Town Centre are your best bet. You can also find good Transit connections with more frequent service to the city in the Hotels in the Ravenel gateway District, near the East end of the Ravenel Cooper River Bridges, where both the #40 and #41 run to Charleston offering a bus into and out of the city approximately every 45 minutes on average. Every 30 minutes some hours. See our Park Pleasantly, Play Downtown page for details on saving money and enhancing your Charleston vacation by staying in Mt. Pleasant.

Transit to the Atlantic - A six year effort

Best friends of Lowcountry Transit began advocating for returning bus service to the beaches in Charleston in 2014. The six your effort included the July 2015 March to the Sea and the 2018 Folly Freedom Campaign. Bus service returned to the beach with a brief trial program in August of 2020 with full summer weekend service starting Memorial Weekend, 2021. The service was reapproved for a second full year and deployed with an improved route in 2022.  The CARTA board unanimously voted to run the service again in 2023 and board members indicated a strong interest in increasing ridership and further improvements to service including a possible connection to Sullivan's Island and parts of Ben Sawyer Blvd, connecting with the #41 route.

It is important to note, however, that extensions of the route depend on the impact of Car induced traffic congestion on roads near the beach which can be severe since so many people prefet frustrating car trips to the beach to search for limited parking over the convenience of transit. For the route to function, it must be able to reliably keep a schedule so it can connect to the #40 bus route to and from Charleston and the rest of the CARTA system. 

More Information- If you need to reach the organizers, contact William Hamilton at (843) 870-5299 or

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Charleston is Hungry for Pancakes and Transit Equity.


Charleston is Hungry for Pancakes and Transit Equity.

Help us fill the flattop Saturday and get Rosa's Featherlight Pancakes out to the people. 

Due to the big response to our plans to offer Rose Parks Pancakes to the community on Saturday, Feb. 4 in honor of her birthday, the cost of the effort has grown beyond what we have in the bank to support transit efforts here.

We're asking our supporters if they can donate items so we can keep those pancakes coming Saturday and possibly at a community racial justice event being planned for Sunday afternoon where we may do pancakes on the spot with camp stoves in a partnership effort with other organizations. Anything left over will be donated to Destiny Community Cafe to help sustain their efforts. 

Details on the entire Charleston area Rosa Parks pancake effort can be found at[UNIQID]

Contact us for our current needs by calling William Hamilton at 843-870-5299 or by emailing

A list of what we need is set out below. We'll delete items as the amount we need comes in on the blogpost you can find linked at the bottom of the list. If you prefer, financial donations can be made online at

In kind donations can be made by dropping them off at the home of William Hamilton at 32 Sowell St. Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. Call before you buy so we can make sure we're filing out the list with the itmes we still need. We're also welcoming people who want to cook or do delivery driving on Saturday. 

Grocery list 

1) Flour all purpose 
2) Large baking powder 
3) Large salt 
4) 5 lb sugar 
5) 10 dozen eggs 
6) 4 gallons milk 
7) peanut butter 
8) shortening or vegetable oil 
9) Maple Syrup or agave 
10) Cinnamon (Ground ) 
11) Nutmeg 
12) Butter 
13) Fruit topping apples or strawberries 
14) Carry out containers (no sections) 
15) Optional sausage Pattie’s 
16) Optional wax paper sheets or foil sheets 
17) Optional Oil Cooking Spray 5-10 count 

We also need about $125 to cover the cost of printing for this and the bus seat signs which will be sued on CARTA buses to reserve a seat for Rosa that day.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Charleston, SC Brewery District Trolley, Fun, Free and Full

Charleston Brewery District Trolley, Fun, Free and Full

Stopped at Revelry Brewing

Charleston Brewery District Trolley is a free, fun addition to uptown Charleston’s diverse mobility menu used by locals and visitors that continues to grow towards success since returning to operation a year ago.

I rode the Trolley (actually a streetcar style bus) on September 24, 2022 as part of an afternoon which connected me with events across the city using the Brewery Trolley and #20 CARTA Bus Route. Both are free.

I reached Charleston on the CARTA #40 Mt. Pleasant Bus which arrived on time and tracked perfectly on the Transit App. Downtown I dismounted at the first stop on Meeting St., Just North of Huger and walked South and West around the corner to Palmetto Brewing on Huger. The Brewery District Trolley arrived five minutes earlier than expected because I had consulted an old schedule found online. A stop has been added and pushed pickup times on half the route forward five minutes.  Several outdated versions of the schedule persist online.  The current, correct schedule as of Sept. 24, 2022 can be found as an image in this blog.

The Brewery District Trolley picked up about ten passengers at Palmetto Brewing and dropped several off. It headed around the corner to Baker & Brewer for another busy stop.

Passengers included adults and children. There was a goody basket of treats by the door where people boarded. A poll of riders taken after a large group boarded at Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. showed 20% of the passengers were from Charleston. 30% from other parts of the Lowcountry. 20% from other parts of SC and 30% from out of state, including on this occasion Alaska and Massachusetts. Everyone was in good spirits and friendly. There were two family events at the Brewereys that day and all these businesses serve food, so the presence of children wasn’t surprising. The kids were loving the bus.

Trolley Schedule as of Sept. 25, 2022
For someone trying to reach the Brewery Trolley on CARTA Transit, the stop at Baker and Brewer and the Stop at Palmetto Brewing are the closest to stops on the #10 Rivers Ave. and #40 Mt. Pleasant CARTA bus routes. Covered shelters with seating can be found on Meeting with a walk of less than a block required to make the connection.

For those using the free #20 Upper King CARTA bus to reach the Brewery District Trolley from downtown, the Visitors Center and the hotel district, the best places to connect are at Palmetto Brewery on Huger, a half block walk from the #20 Bus on King Street.  You can also connect to the #20 at stops on the North part of that route including Stop ID: 460 at Rutledge Ave / Courtland Ave a half block (320 feet SSE) from Brew Lab or the stop with seating and a shelter a block further South in front of Rutledge Cab Company. Both of these stops are easy, fully sidewalked walk to Brew lab (for reasons I don’t understand, Google shows a walk under I 26 and Back, but it’s a very short walk directly down Rutledge to both stops).

I rode the Brewery Trolley around most of its route visiting Tradesman Brewing, Lofi, Munkle Brewing, and Fatty's Beer works. I arrived at the Conservation organization’s event at Brewlab Charleston. During this short 40 Minutes on Board about 60 passengers rode the bus. The driver said they often have many more.

Most passengers are on board the trolley for only a few stops. They appear to dismount when the brewery the bus arrives at appears welcoming and active. Those breweries which appeared deserted did not draw visitors off the bus.  

Boarding over 25 passengers at Btewlab
After visiting the event at Brew lab, I checked the Transit App and found the #20 was approaching in 12 minutes. I walked down to Rutledge Ave. to wait at the covered stop in front of Rutledge Cab Company. I could have had a shorter walk and waited at the stop at Rutledge and Cortland. The #20 took me down into the City to my stop near Queen Street, in the middle of the Tourist District.

On Saturdays in Charleston, SC, the Brewery District Trolley provides a great option for people who want to enjoy this newer part of the city and the varied options for food, drink and community activity found there now. It’s already popular and successful and sure to continue to be ever more so with locals and visitors. It benefits from the far less congested streets and roads it operates on and was keeping its schedule without a problem. There are good opportunities to connect to local transit, though it doesn’t go far enough South to connect to the free DASH bus system. It does however connect well to the #20 Upper King bus which is also free. It’s a great way to explore a new part of Charleston and the many events happening there on Saturday.

Brewing Up More Impact

Conservation Event at Brewlab Charleston
It would be great if there were a way to track the bus as it moves and signs for where the stops are located which note the stop time.

More awareness about how to reach the Brewery Trolly from the main tourism district on the #20 bus would benefit both transit services.  Event publicity for the many events at these businesses should mention the Brewery Trolley to attract more visitors and relieve their parking struggle. There is already a lot of community activity along this route, but its potential for large scale multi site events like Oktoberfest or a Holiday Festival is huge. We hope this blogpost will help.

We think the driver should have a cheerful trolley bell to ring at stops and a cool hat to wear. We had a great driver and her cheerful, positive attitude lit up the bus. 

If you are running a brewery on this Trolley route, it’s important to understand that the impression you make on a person sitting inside the bus is absolutely connected to making your money on Saturday. A welcoming presence of activity empties the bus. A deserted parking lot without color or seating leaves these fun seeking passengers unmoved. The big group which boarded at Edmond’s Oast emptied out when they saw the lively scene at Brew Lab. If I was running a brewery, I would send a smiling staff member out to wave and welcome the trolley, perhaps with a little tray of tiny snacks on toothpicks.

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Upmobile to Return to Lowcountry Struggle Though it's not a Bus

In January, the Planatary gear within the iron, aluminum and titanium heart   of the Hamilton families aging 2010 Prius became uncertain and the little blue car which had done so much for so many struggled to the end of the North Bridge where it finally trembled to a stop on the deserted parking lot of Synagogue Emanuel. No one said Kaddish for the Upmobile as it was towed to the Toyota dealership.

You can help support the work the Upmobile does by contributing to the support of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit on Act Blue. This will free William Hamilton’s private funds to return the Upmobile to the road. Charleston needs this ride.

Thus might have been the sad and quiet end of the Upmobile which appearance at countless progressive events in Charleston, crammed with gear and activists, roof rack loaded up with tents, was the arrival of our small, but determined Lowcountry Up is Good and Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit cavalry. It was the Upmobile which brought out people to the reelection of Obama, to the fight for the transit referendum, the fight against Trump, the long and unfinished push to force local government to stop stealing our transit funds for road construction and lastly carrying Marvin Pendarvis through a contested primary in 2020 to reelection.

It was to its driver’s seat which Julia crawled on the last, dark night of her life, resolving to drive it to her doctor in the morning, planning to spend the long night in the driver’s seat because she could not climb the stairs. It was from that seat that she was transferred to an ambulance and taken to the hospital for that final trip we all make, for which she did not need a car.

It outlived its driver nearly two years. It kept our activism on life support during the Pandemic with Chris Jackson at the wheel. When he left to lead the national Jackson Traction effort and drive a long haul truck, Rose Peltz took the wheel, piloting it to that last, little sad stop in the West Ashley Parking lot.

I am a transit advocate. I am legally blind and I cannot drive. I wanted to make a radical commitment to a lifestyle free of the automobile. I have retained many of Julia’s cherished things: her 1806 violin, her Ivers and Pond Parlor grand piano, her modest treasures and the golden hoard of her memory. I did not need her car. I take the bus. I live of things delivered. I would be OK.

However, just as the Ukraines need armored SUVs welded together in the junkyards of the Czech Republic to carry the fight to the Russian army, we have struggled to maintain progress against the creeping flood of cruelty which is life in SC. We have spent too much on Uber, which is just seeing your dealer more often for your car fix. Reaching the rural areas that are the edge of the transit fight is expensive and unreliable. We hauled a trailer full of gear. Our backs hurt from carrying too much too far.  We won’t win unless we roll heavy, or at least heavy for us. The little Upmobile carries more and does more damage to SCs occupation of cruelty than most of those right wing pickups with trump flags ever could.

Of course we had a dalliance or two while the Upmobile slumbered at the dealership. There were temptations, but one must always return to their true love. It was a red convertible.

This morning we ordered a near heart of electricity and fire for the Upmobile. It is sourced from Japan where they attempt to keep their economy alive in the face of a plummeting birth rate by taxing cars heavily as they get older. The new/used engine will have less than 35 thousand miles on it and cost $3,500. It lives within the massive aluminum alloy case which protects its gas motor, generator, electric motor and hybrid drive transmission, all now linked to one solid, reliable planetary gear, the one ring to rule them all.  Installation and testing will cost more.

As large as this worn, blue Prius stands in our community, it is no powerhouse. The total horsepower available with gas and electric power pushing is less than 100 horsepower. It struggles to go over 70 miles per hour. It’s an uncomfortable ride on the interstate. It will however, return the activists of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit and Up is Good to full capability. Tell the Russians and the rednecks to get ready.

Someone suggested we bang out the dents and paint it. How little they understand. We cherish those scars, these wounds we had on Crispin’s day. Those keying scars administered by the Trumpers. Those big magnet signs don’t some off you know. They were long ago welded to the sheet metal by the heat of the Southern sun. There is always more tape to hold the stern cowlings to the rear quarter panels. We like it this way.

We are repairing the car, reusing the motor and recycling the old motor, which ought to count for something. We could retrofit for full electric, but this is our hurricane evacuation ride as well. 

Upmobile May 2013, ending Sanford's

It is our intent to return the Upmobile to service with some ceremony. On the appointed day, we invite you to join us at Fred Anderson Toyota some workday evening soon. We shall set up a popup, Have refreshments, cake the occassion and roll the Upmobile out of the service lot and back on to the battlefield. We do not believe we shall do that alone but expect to be part of a caravan that will carry her to the next engagement in our shared struggle for social justice, joined by people who keep fliers in the glove compartment and a bull horn in the trunk.

I remain a dedicated transit advocate. I am a fan of the battery electric full sized Proterra Transit bus, shiny with chrome and computer driven LEDs. I am a loyal friend to the 3700 series American Flyer buses which are our legacy of the 2000 Atlanta Olympics and are rolling into their two million miles. I continue to believe that the massive red articulated Toronto streetcar, now retired, was and ought to be the Queen of the North American urban roadway.

But with a battery with 30 thousand miles on it and an engine with 35, the Upmobile has another 100 thousand miles in our future. It’s the last car I will own. I will give it up either when the LCRT actually starts running or when they carry me to rest beside Julia at my final stop, a home to which I will summon no grocery deliveries.

Since Jack is spending his money on a new hybrid drive, you can help pay for more activism for better transit by donating to Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit on Act Blue.