CARTA installs solar lighting at 151 bus stops in the Charleston area | news

Now that CARTA is installing solar lighting at 151 locations, fewer bus drivers have to stand in the dark at unprotected bus stops.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority has been working on a multi-year plan to upgrade bus stop facilities, and adding the lights to unprotected bus stops is the latest effort. CARTA has also added more shelters and, since 2019, 40 shelters with solar powered lighting.

The bus stops where lights are added no longer have shelters. The lights are supposed to help the drivers, but also to help the bus drivers to see if drivers are waiting.

“If you can’t see someone, or they might be waiting in the shade, drivers may not know to stop,” said Daniel Brock of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Governing Council.

The solar lights are installed on bus stops. Installing 151 of these is a $ 181,000 project, according to Brock, with the federal government assuming 80 percent of the costs.

About half of the lights have been installed so far.

CARTA illuminated bus stop

CARTA is adding solar lighting to 151 bus stops, including this stop on Folly Road. Provided

Brock said 50 of the remaining are awaiting approval from the Charleston Design Review Committee.

The committee examines projects in the public right of way. Charleston spokesman Jack O’Toole said city officials could review the plan and then refer the issue to the committee.

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CARTA has 857 bus stops, most of which have no shelters. Many are already in lighted areas.

“What we see are stops with no lights,” said Brock. “The more we can do to improve this experience, the more we can build passengers.”

He said studies have shown that more people use local transport when they have protection and lighting at bus stops.

The CARTA network of bus stops, now equipped with solar powered lighting, is growing rapidly

The bus system’s 2019 goal was to have shelters at 20 percent of bus stops, and the recently added solar-powered shelters at 40 stops is part of that goal.

The remaining lighting at unprotected stops is expected to be installed in early 2021. The final lighting stop is at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant.

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To reach David Slade at 843-937-5552. Follow him on Twitter @DSladeNews.

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