Free downtown trolley service will begin on Monday, serving the downtown shopping district. Key stops on the route include Upper King parking areas, the busy King Street district, the port's cruise terminal, and the Market. Broad and Meeting streets make up the rest of the route.
In a city that's just a hair too big to be considered walkable, the new routes open up opportunities for the Upper King area, with a new way for Market Street and Lower King street shoppers to make it up to the growing district. And a new opportunity for tourist parking in the area's often underutilized parking garages.
The city is funding the bus route with $360,000. With the inclusion of the cruise stop, the State Ports Authority has agreed to fund the service with up to $50,000.
Meanwhile, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority has agreed to work toward replacing the old buses and improve map information and rider amenities. The city's Edwin Gardner Peninsula Taskforce has suggested adding free Wi-Fi. CARTA will also monitor ridership, providing the city with monthly reports to determine whether the service will continue past next fall.