CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) passengers are sharing some concerns about operations within the bus system.

“Well, the busses are never really on time, the drivers drive erratically. I’ve been thrown out of the seat twice,” explained Joshua Blanton.

Blanton and his wife rely on CARTA every day. They drive from Santee, S.C. each morning, and one of them takes the car, and the other takes the bus to either West Ashley or North Charleston depending on their work schedules.

Blanton says in the year and a half he has been riding CARTA, his concerns have not been resolved.

He says the buses are often late or too early and leave before their scheduled arrival time. Blanton says he understands traffic can sometimes cause problems, but claims drivers often take 15-minute breaks leading to further delays.

“They just drive off,” said Blanton. “And then you’ve gotta wait a whole hour before another one comes. Sometimes they’re late. Just last week alone they were late by at least an hour on two occasions.”

He tells News 2 that’s a concern for people who rely on public transportation to get to and from work or school.

“If you can’t get to work on time because you’re having to rely on public transportation, no one’s gonna keep you.”

2019 Census data shows nearly 8 million Americans use public transportation to get to and from work.

Another concern is cleanliness on the buses.

Blanton says he’s also seen what he claims are illegal activities between other passengers. Additionally, he says both he and his wife have been harassed on board CARTA busses.

He claims he has called and attempted to make a complaint twice a week for nearly two months, but hasn’t made any progress or seen any changes.

Every time you go to call or make a complaint or see if there’s anything that can be done about it, it’s the same thing. ‘Oh, we’ve got staffing shortages,’ or ‘If you want to be somewhere on time, take an uber.'”

A statement from CARTA is below.

“Maintaining the safety of CARTA passengers and drivers is our top priority, and that’s why our approach is threefold:

  • First, we have a zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment or other illegal activity taking place onboard our buses. Passengers aware of such behavior are asked to immediately report it to the bus operator, so the appropriate authorities can be contacted.
  • Second, to ensure the safety of our drivers, passengers and others on the road, CARTA drivers are permitted to take short breaks following the completion of a route in addition to restroom breaks, when necessary. Such breaks are necessary and are an important part of our outstanding safety performance.
  • And third, as for the buses themselves, CARTA maintains rigorous cleaning protocols, which include daily sweeping and mopping, weekly chlorinated disinfection, bi-weekly deep cleaning and the recent installation of air purification systems onboard. 

In terms of scheduling and operational performance, our buses are subject to the same traffic patterns as those in personal vehicles, which inevitably result in some delays. But with that said, we’re proud to be averaging 87 percent on time performance so far this year, which is on par with – and in many cases ahead of — transportation systems across the country.”

-Andrea Kozloski, Deputy Director of Operations and Support, BCDCOG