Lowcountry Rapid Transit is riddled with problems

Lowcountry Rapid Transit is riddled with problems
April 01 17:23 2019 Print This Article

The proposed Lowcountry Rapid Transit bus system from Summerville to downtown Charleston is riddled with problems. The 23 mile loop is designed to run down the medians of Highway 78 and Highway 52. There are large stretches of Highway 78 that don’t have a median. Another issue is where people can park at the 18 proposed bus stops and how passengers could safely go from the parking lots to board the buses in the medians.

Transportation planners are stating that the full trip will take one hour. If each stop took three minutes to unboard and board passengers, the stops alone would consume 54 minutes. The buses would also have to stop at the traffic lights along the route. The Summerville end of the route begins on Main Street, near Hutchinson Square. The last stop on the peninsula is at Line Street.

The estimated construction cost for the project is $360 million. The 0.5% transportation sales tax approved by Charleston County voters in 2016 will cover a lot of the cost, but transportation officials are also counting on federal grants. A two-year National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study will have to be completed before federal grant requests may be submitted. On top of construction costs, 16 new buses will be purchased. The electric buses envisioned by planners currently cost about $750,000 apiece.