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Charleston, SC, USA- Riders and supporters of Public Transit will collect petition signatures and demonstrate their opposition to further service cuts by CARTA on Tuesday, May 1st. from 1 to 3 pm at the Mary Street Transit Center in downtown Charleston (80 Mary Street, Charleston, SC, across from Hughes Lumber).  The demonstration will be supported by the Hungryneck Straphangers (Formerly known as the East Cooper CARTA Riders) and will be conducted legally in accordance with city regulations.

Those wanting updates on the event can check the calendar and website at www.eastccrider.com or call (843) 870-5299.  The Transit center can easily be reached on CARTA.  Trips can be planned online using Google Map’s Transit function.  See sample trip from Mount Pleasant Town Hall on Google Transit to the Mary Street Transit Center.

Last week a five year plan was presented to the CARTA Board to cut transit service in the Charleston area by another five percent.  The plan further suggested cancelling even more routes to increase service on the overburdened #10 route and add an express route serving the Boeing plant.  The plan included no strategies to restore night bus service desperately needed by people working late shifts in the medical and food and beverage sectors.  The plan contained no timeline for advancing towards construction of the long planned regional transit hub near the airport.  It would require eliminating drivers job’s and other skilled positions held by men and women who have worked years serving the public.

The Hungryneck Strap hangers organization feels this plan is inappropriate at a time when CARTA ridership has risen over 13% in a single year to a system record of 425,895 in March.  Transit services are essential to the economic survival of the area’s service workers, who already accept long commutes to work.  East Cooper’s #40 bus route is running standing room only many mornings and evenings.  The CARTA system is also used extensively by tourists, students, veterans and the disabled.  Increasing numbers of riders from Mount Pleasant are using the bus to link to employment as well, recovering time from their commute to catch up on reading and online activities.  

The Hungryneck Straphangers is finishing a yearlong effort to increase ridership East of the Cooper which is pushing their new East Cooper Connector Route to its required ridership target and helped raise ridership in their area by over 3500 rides per month, establishing a successful model which could be replicated across the region.

“We understand that CARTA has to adjust service based on economic limits, but this plan fails to include any strategies for retaining the current service level or meeting real needs in the future.  As our economy changes from one based on the automobile and cheap oil to one focused on talent and mobility, the content and scale of CARTA’s funding model must evolve as well to serve our area.  If we depend on service jobs in tourism and medical services, gentrify the city and push affordable housing inland, we have to have a transit system which connects workers to employment opportunities and their other needs.” Said William Hamilton, coordinator of the Hungryneck Straphangers.

The Demonstration will be one of thousands around the world held that day to raise awareness of environmental, economic justice and human rights issues.

A facebook event signup has been established for the demonstration at http://tinyurl.com/...

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Originally posted to wjhamilton29464 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos.

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