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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Help Summerville Escape Racism and Congestion Thursday, April 14

 Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. and the Alston Foundation spent Monday preparing for Thursday, April 25’s 5:25 pro transit demonstration in Summerville by doing outreach in Dorchester County, reaching over 500 people in Summerville and Ridgeville.

Summerville Town Council

We were followed by the police. We learned that a cabal of government and government sponsored private sector nonprofits were devoting their Monday to deflecting our effort to restore Summerville’s link to the transit system in hopes of maintaining Summerville as a white flight refuge from the racially and economically diverse communities growing up around them. We encountered a pair of delightful Ukulele players.

The leadership of Summerville and their institutions gather around the campfire of racism and class hatred often without consciously realizing it. They describe it with code words like crime and quality of life. Sometimes they don’t even understand what they’re doing, like someone who toasts marshmallows over the coals left from a cross burning after the Klan has returned to their fish camp to drink beer.

Fifty years after desegregation, the practice of suburban racism is engrained the muscle memory of places like Summerville. The kids now running around blowing coal rolling filth on pedestrians probably don’t associate their “rednecking” with their Grandfather’s parking a burning cross in front of Linda Saylor’s Grandfather’s home while he kept them at outside the fence with a loaded shotgun informed by the certainty earned in WWI that he could, if necessary, kill people.

That’s why Linda’s home is surrounded by a Sears installed six-foot chain-link fence with the pointy fence top. I don’t know if Linda still has her grandfather’s shot gun. She keeps that fence locked. You do not what to encounter the psychotic pit bull she has chained in the back yard at night when it believes you aren’t welcome. It is from behind that moat of steel and teeth that Linda runs the Dorchester Unit of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit and is planning Thursday’s demonstration. She’s also fighting a three woman war against the forced gentrification of Brownsville with her mother, aunt and Civil Rights hero Louise Brown. Linda makes excellent French toast. The house needs a dumpster, but her mother insists they must keep it all.

Original Southern terminus of the Transit Line
Our opposition in Summerville and beyond is powerful, well organized and backed by the Koch brothers. Americans for Prosperity is reenergized and working with Congresswoman Nancy Mace to help get her reelected. They’re not holding meetings about what they want Summerville to be. They prefer to work from behind the curtain. It’s hard for liberals and social justice activists to comprehend what politics is like when thousand-dollar contribution checks can be summoned by a single email. They can purchase control of Town Councils and School Boards for a few ten thousand of dollars, peanuts for the organizations which fund them from other states.

They've been able to get Summerville, Lincolnville and Ladson cut out of the transit line which has been in planning for 25 years. The planned line now ends at the Fairgrounds, miles from Summerville along  a road which lacks sidewalks.   

What these billionaires want in Summerville and throughout the South, is a culturally grounded bulwark against the rise of a racially and economically diverse culture of town and city living in the South. The Southeast is their racially grounded citadel from which they will make war against the rise of an America defined not by the color of people’s skin but by the content of their character. They want to be sure that the music of the song mentioned in King’s great speech, “Free at Last,” never rises from a racially diverse celebration on Hutchison Square or even Doty Park. If they can keep racism at the center of our shared lives, they can make America safe for the rich, two things intimately, but not necessarily connected.

Most of the people in Summerville don’t have a clue this is happening. They just know they spend more of every day trapped in their cars, desperately awaiting their weary reunion with their children who are waiting for a ride to a playdate or a takeout dinner because nobody has time left to cook. Those people hate developers and minorities because they’ve been taught to. They don’t understand that better, different types of development, supported by transit would work. They don’t get a chance to learn and know that all minorities are not criminals. Since they spend three hours a day trapped in their cars, parent with their cars and run the endless creeping errands with their cars, they’ll never learn otherwise.


Since they’re angry, they’ll vote for Trump and when he implodes whoever the Koch organization funds to replace him. Their funeral parades will crawl through the congestion suffocating Summerville with their survivors still believing what they really need are more lanes and lower taxes. The ukulele players sitting on the square on a sunny spring day getting pestered by my transit advocacy on Monday are just an inconsequential distraction, not the revolution they do not comprehend they need.

We’ll see you at Town Hall in Summerville on Thursday, April 14. It’s a significant day, the memorial of the Last Supper, Christ’s last stab at building community and his betrayal by someone funded by the billionaires of that time with 40 pieces of silver. We’re shooting for the shared and blessed supper. We’ll try to shut down the betrayal and return the promised transit line to Summerville. The demonstration starts at the opposite end of the square, near the location of Summerville’s lost train station and moves across the Square to the music of Eyes on the Prize to a short rally in front of Town Hall before the march upstairs to participate in the Town Council meeting, with the hope of putting the body and blood of democracy back into Summerville Town Government. Wear red. Bring your drum.

Full details on the April 14 protest and rally at https://www.facebook.com/BFLowcountryTransit

Information on the entire Summerville to the Sea effort at https://bfltransit.blogspot.com/2022/02/transit-equity-demands-for-sc.html

To Contact us call W Hamilton at 843-870-5299 or email mailto:wjhamilton29464@gmail.com?subject=Summerville%20FOIA%20Request%20Materials

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Make Sure Transit in SC Gets it Share Update from DC on Federal Funding

 

We need to be sure that CARTA, LINK and the other little transit services in the area are asking for the funding that is available. Please review this and give us your input. 

At last week's CARTA Board meeting a staff member tried the old, tired, 

'We have no money" line on Millicent Middleton, who is trying to slow down the proliferation of white crosses on the Sea Islands where poor people trying to walk miles home, often after dark, get hit and killed by cars over and over. It's time to be sure that all of us, like Millicent, know and let them know that this isn't true. Over ten million dollars a year in local transit funding for the improvement of regular bus service is currently being misappropriated to road construction. The LCRT project is being delayed so it's funding can also be diverted to road construction. These agencies have millions in potential federal funding they can get as well. We still haven't gotten an answer from Nancy Mace on her position on our Transit Questions. We're going to be talking to all the Candidates for Congress from the 1st. and 6th. district and publishing what we're able to learn on Right to Ride Day, May 4. 



March 22, 2022

The Era of Bus Austerity is Over


The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act–the “bipartisan infrastructure law” signed last year–offers limited relief when it comes to operating transit service. But the good news is that it represents a sea change when it comes to capital investment. It expands the size of the federal transit programs by at least 49%–not enough to meet all repair needs, but enough to allow many agencies to escape austerity and plan to improve the rider experience while modernizing what they have. 

A perfect illustration of this is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent request for applications to the federal Bus and Bus Facilities Grant (USDOT calls this a Notice of Funding Opportunity, or NOFO). Earlier this month, USDOT issued a NOFO for two major grant programs that fund bus-related capital needs, with applications due May 31: 

  • $1.1 billion for the Low-No Emission Bus program, which pays for low-emission and zero-emission buses, facilities and equipment which supports them, and stations and stops that accommodate them.
  • $372 million for the Bus and Bus Facilities Grant program, which is used to buy, rehabilitate, or lease buses and vans and “bus-related facilities.” (Another $604 million in this program will be distributed to transit agencies through a legislative formula, without needing to apply.)

Like most federal grant programs, these require a local contribution (of 15-20% in most cases).

Under IIJA, nearly twice as much funding is available through these programs, with the increase concentrated in the “Low-No” program. Congress then added another $250 million to these programs in the fiscal year 2022 “omnibus” act, which was signed by President Biden on March 15 and keeps the government funded through September 30 (the additional money from the omnibus will likely be awarded through this NOFO as well.)

IIJA Grows Federal Programs for Bus Capital Needs

The growth in funding creates opportunities to use the “Bus and Bus Facilities” part of the pie for improvements to riders’ experience and working conditions. 

Historically, both programs have paid for the replacement of buses that are more than 12 years old, as well as antiquated maintenance facilities. For example, in 2021, when $760 million was awarded through the discretionary parts of these programs, 107 of the 119 grants were for normal bus fleet replacement or updating or replacing old facilities. 

Other types of bus improvements have long been eligible, but have always received a small slice of the program. Bus and Bus Facilities grants have helped pay for benches, shelters, and ADA improvements at 100 bus stops in Salt Lake City; bus rapid transit corridors in Albany, New York and the Bronx; bathrooms for riders and workers in Lewiston, Idaho; modernized fare collection systems at agencies in Massachusetts and Texas; and new buses associated with service expansion in Seattle

These types of upgrades are not “nice to have” – they are fundamental to providing universal access and a dignified transit experience. Installing bus shelters has been shown to increase ridership, and can correct the longstanding pattern of agencies dedicating more funding to rail facilities than bus facilities. A lack of access to restrooms is an abiding health and safety concern for transit workers across the country. And ADA accessibility determines whether or not someone can use transit at all. 

Transit agencies which have struggled to simply maintain bus fleets now have more leeway to think big. Agencies with plans on the books to improve the bus riding experience, like Houston’s METRONext or Atlanta’s Move MARTA, should look to the Bus and Bus Facilities program (and other programs expanded in IIJA) to accelerate those plans. Doing so will require the identification (and political support) of local funding sources that can meet federal matching requirements.

For agencies without such plans in the works – now is the perfect time to escape the austerity-driven replacement mindset, and to think expansively about how to compete for and use this money. And advocates, it’s up to you to provide them with ideas and encouragement. 

This information provided by

    Ashley Pryce | Senior Advocacy Associate
    Pronouns | She/Her/Hers
    1 Whitehall Street | 17th Floor
    New York, NY 10004
    apryce@transitcenter.org | c.917.374.0322


Support us and Contact Us


Thursday, March 17, 2022

Performance Report on CARTA ETA Phone App

 

CARTA’s implementation of the Transit App Has Become Unreliable

From     Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc.
To           CARTA Board, March 16, 1 pm Meeting
Date      March 16, 2022

Image, Above, CARTA Board Member John Iacafano (Mt. Pleasant) speaking to CARTA Tranist riders at Mary Street Transit Center, Oct. 2021

Facebook event listing with full information on Today's 1 pm CARTA Board Meeting

Over the past year the local implementation of the Transit app has become so unreliable that it may be hurting our attempt to rebuild ridership. ETAs and schedule information are now inaccurate and misleading. This discourages completing planned trips and imparts the perception of unreliability to the entire system and all local public transit. This does not appear to be due to a deterioration in performance relative to the declared schedules, however many of us use the Transit app instead of the schedule. I have been reporting this problem to the board since October 2021. This report has been released to the press. Here are some recent, personally experienced failures.

  1. Sunday, March 13- #40 bus, arrived at Shelmore stop with App reporting bus to arrive in 9 minutes. No bus arrived. App then began reporting bus would arrive in 42 minutes. Friends up the line wanted to call an Uber. Bus arrived 8 minutes later. ETA still inaccurate.
  2. Sunday, March 13, 1:35pm- 211 Dash reported arriving at Mary St/Meeting St. stop, Northbound in 23 minutes. Began walking towards event. Bus passes us Northbound 2 minutes later. Guest disgusted wants to go home. Managed to get them on the DASH later where a wonderful driver, nicknamed Tbone redeemed their lost faith in the DASH system.
  3. March 8- #40 bus arrives with ETA of 47 minutes being reported at 2:40 pm, Shelmore Stop, inbound.
  4. March 2– After attending a Lincolnville Town Council meeting where Transit was discussed, we were dropped off on Highway 78 to wait for the #10 Southbound behind the Gas station. App reported the #10 making two more stops that night at that location. No buses arrived. Checked Google Transit which stated service for the day had ended. Waited an hour for an Uber and paid #60 to get home with Louise Brown.
  5. March 4, 3:35 pm- #20 bus Northbound arrived 15 minutes before predicted. Was walking down street, between stops and missed bus.
  6. Buses rounding the block to begin service North from Mary Street are often reported as having passed the stop with the next arrival being reported as the ETA meaning nearly everyone waiting for our major route’s downtown can’t tell if the bus has departed or not. Mapping not functional on most phones.

Bad ETA information impacts over half the CARTA trips I am attempting to make. As head of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit and a local transit rider of over 40 years’ experience, I should be able to use this system. Mapping of unit locations isn’t working on my phone or most of the phones of other people I see, so the numeric ETA is the only information we have beside the schedule.

William Hamilton
Executive Director, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit

Support us and Contact Us


Monday, March 14, 2022

Transit Questions for 1st. and 6th. US SC Congressional Districts 2022 Primary


Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit will request answers to these seven questions about public transit and affordable housing from the candidates for US House of Representatives, 1st. and 6th. Districts, SC. 

View the Response of Candidates

You can now view our spreadsheet on how the candidates have responded to our request for the answers set out below and which of them have taken a bus ride with us. You can call or email their campaigns to emphasize the importance of transit in your voting decision. We don't endorse candidates, so the final decision is up to you. 

Image, Right, Former Congressman Mark Sanford is presented with the Community Commitment to Transit which he did not sign.

We will publish the answers received and whatever other information we’re able to obtain from candidates running in both the Republican and Democratic Primaries for US House on Right to Ride Day, May 4. The primary is in June. You can vote in only one primary. As a 501c3 we do not endorse candidates and leave you with the responsibility of choosing who to vote for. Please inform us of anything you learn attending forums or town halls. Record video if you can. Information on how to contact and support us can be found at the bottom of this page.

Definitions: LCRT means Lowcountry Rapid Transit System, a bus rapid transit system consisting of buses traveling in dedicated lanes and mixed traffic as originally proposed in the I26 Alt study of 2015 and subsequently modified by the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments; Support means to actively work to encourage public support for, obtain approval of and obtain funding for a project or proposal before and during the term of office you see election to. 

Questions for Congressional Candidates

  1. Do you support the use of Federal Funds to support operation and improvement of public transit facilities in the SC Lowcountry, both the LCRT and regular bus service? Yes Both, No, LCRT Only, regular transit service only. 
  2. Do you support the use of Federal Funds for road construction? Yes, No, Do not wish to answer
  3. Do you support construction of the Lowcountry Rapid Transit system and if elected will you work to see that federal funds are made available to support completion of the project? Yes, No, Do not wish to Answer
  4. Do you support the current plan for an LCRT line which ends at the Fairgrounds on Highway 78 or do would you support returning to the original 2015 I26 Alt plan for a line which runs all the way to Summerville? Yes, No, Do not wish to answer
  5. Do you support extending the LCRT System up Highway 52 to Goose Creek from the current junction in the line at Highway 78 and Rivers Ave? Yes, No, Do not wish to answer.
  6. Do you support a requirement that any roads built with federal funds be designed and built as complete streets which accommodate pedestrians, cars, bicycles and transit riders as appropriate? Yes, No, Do not wish to answer
  7. Do you support construction of affordable housing with Federal financial support in areas served by public transit? Yes, No, Do Not wish to answer. 
A printable, PDF Ballot for these responses that you can present to the candidates can be downloaded now.  

You are free to provide other information on public transit and any policies or positions you have regarding it which we will attempt to disseminate with our voter’s guide, possibly online. However, unless our questions are answered, no additional material will be disseminated and refused to answer will be entered as your response. We will disseminate our voter’s guide in person to over 5000 families in Summerville, Goose Creek, Lincolnville, N. Charleston, Charleston, the sea islands, Mt. Pleasant and other locations in person in the month before the primary. It will also be sent to the press and distributed online. 

Support and Contact Us




Thursday, March 10, 2022

Bus to the Beach in the Lowcountry 2022

 Second Season of Service to the Sea at IOP

Boarding Shuttle at Mt. Pleasant Town Centre
After a brief experimental operation in Aug. 2020, and seven years of transit advocacy by Best Friends including the 2015 March to the Sea, regular public transit bus service reached the beach in the Lowcountry on Memorial Weekend 2022. Now it returns for its second year. 

This page will be updated as the start date of the Reach the Beach Shuttle for Summer 2022 Approaches

The CARTA Board voted to run the shuttle again this year at their January 2022 meeting. 

We'll be presenting IOP City Council with their copy of the Key to the Sea on March 22 at 6 pm. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Transit- Security and Peace for Ukraine & America Built With Transit

Charleston, SC- It is easy to feel helpless when you are powerless and alone. A two year pandemic has taken our friends, emptied our buses and disrupted our lives. All of us hoped for better days, a spring which opened into peace and happiness. We haven't surrendered the hope of getting there. As always, it's a longer, harder bus trip than we hoped for, but if you have your transfer, you may get there. 

Our Transit Planning Children's Activity
Image, left, children from 4 continents, speaking 7 languages helping plan a model transit system, N. Charleston Farmer's Market, Fall 2019, Some of these children have cousins in Eastern Europe now.

Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine reminds us while we may volunteer to clean up a bus stop or help an elderly passenger on board, there are still brutal, cruel forces in the world who force suffering upon the innocent to gratify their insatiable egos. They burn their name into the tortured memory of history. They want to join the men we are eager to forget, but which perpetuate themselves in our schoolbooks: 
Genghis Khan, Francisco Pizzaro, King Leopold, Hitler, Putin.

Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit now functions as a component of a national network of Transit Advocacy Groups leading the effort to rebuild safer, sustainable cities like Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA and Indianapolis, Minn. with powerful, community uniting transit systems. Yesterday, our corps of conductors completed a canvass of every hotel in Mt. Pleasant to get tourists out of their cars, on to our buses to help ease congestion on our highways and streets.  Last night we challenged Congresswoman Nancy Mace to take a stand regarding the status of our rapid transit system. She didn't answer, but being Americans, we'll go back until she does. On Tuesday, March 1,  we'll stand, speak and sing at Charleston County Council to try to end the go nowhere excuse based planning which has failed the commitment voters made in 2016 to fund a rapid transit line linking Summerville and Charleston. 

Made in SC, USA Proterra Battery Electric Bus
Our own Christopher Jackson, founder of the legendary lightning crew which took door to door transit information to thousands of homes in Dorchester County now drives an 18 wheel, over the road tractor trailer. When he stops, he reaches out to communities across the US helping start and encourage transit improvement efforts. He calls it the Continental, Together We Go Forward Initiative. Chris is out pulling the national supply chain and bringing people together to begin the journey for better transit. 

Putin has made it clear we can’t stay where we are. We can’t live with his target on our backs. Charleston has been at the forefront of America’s defense since we repelled the British at Ft. Sullivan in 1776. We built the ships which liberated Europe at our Navy Yard in N. Charleston during WWII. We stood the long, terrifying watch of the Cold war with our Polaris Submarines at the Charleston Navy Base. 

When I was a boy, Soviet boomers patrolled just off our coast and American Attack subs from our Navy Base, armed with nuclear torpedo's, shadowed them in hopes of blowing the red sub out of the Atlantic before they could fire on Charleston. Now those Russian subs are probably back, just off our coast. I grew up with that. I remember the horror of learning what was going on and what the Sub Captain that was our backyard neighbor was doing. Evidently, he did it right. We've lived up to now. It's not polite to talk about that reality in Charleston. I've seen the shock of young people today learning how this works. I can't decide weather I should tell them or not. For Charleston, still on the target list due to our Air Force Base and Nuclear storage facilities which may or may not still have missiles, it will could be over, without any warning in an instant. Most of us will never even know.  

Charleston once attacked America when we fired on Ft. Sumter and started the American Civil War. That time, Charleston learned the hard way fighting on the wrong side of the long struggle for human dignity and freedom against the United States of America means losing. My ancestors learned that at Missionary Ridge on Nov. 25, 1863. So will Putin when his day comes. 

However, thanks to the efforts of thousands of people (from lonely transit advocates leafleting rainy bus stops to President Biden signing the infrastructure bill) we have not arrived at this dark day unprepared. America and the West are no longer barreling towards an auto dependent, petroleum fueled future where Putin’s status as ruler of the second largest petroleum exporting nation makes us his slaves. 
In Greenville SC Pro Terra manufactures the finest battery electric buses made anywhere in the world. We have over a dozen running right now in Charleston, SC. In Mt. Pleasant, SC, Hubner makes the complex, robotic articulations which allow buses to bend around corners and put big vehicles with lots of passengers on narrow historic streets like the ones in Charleston efficiently. 
Sr. Citizens visiting Best Friend of Charleston Replica

While all of this conserves fuel, it also brings people together. Strangers become transit buddies at stops and on buses and trains. They learn that people different from them can still be their friends and that all those friends, together, are Americans. 

The price of gas is going to rise. It ought to. We cannot fill our greedy tanks with Putin’s oil when it buys the bombs and bullets which send death to Ukraine. We’ll need our transit system, recovering from Covid, to pull us together and move us ahead.

It may be that this, with Best Friend’s of Lowcountry Transit’s continuing efforts, will hasten the day when we have our own rapid transit line linking Charleston, N. Charleston, Ladson, Lincolnville, Summerville, Hanahan and Goose Creek. We’ll be able to join the elite group of rising cities moving out of congestion, pollution, and climate killing carbon fuels to a faster, cleaner and more hopeful future.

Right now our CARTA and LINK buses are slower than your car. Sometimes they’re crowded. Some people on board have evident struggles we would prefer not to share. They don’t always go where they’re needed or show up when promised, but each rider on each trip moves us further away from a world men like Putin and the oil funded terrorists of ISIS control. It’s a trip worth taking. It’s time to get on board. If you don't know how to ride, call me. I'll talk you through it. If that doesn't work, one of our conductors will ride with you. Together, We Go Forward!

Join us on the bus. It’s one way Americans Go Forward!

END END END

For information on Better Transit in the SC Lowcountry see www.bfltransit.com or contact Executive Director William Hamilton at (843) 870-5299 or wjhamilton29464@gmail.com