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Buzz2kb

Charleston Area RTA (SC)

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Continuing on the theme of the Canadian connection in the transit agencies of Georgia and the Carolina. Charleston Area RTA (CARTA) in Charleston County, SC is the most dyed-in-the-wool New Flyer fan outside MARTA and Cobb Community Transit in the Atlanta metro. In fact, they have the last New Flyer high floor buses still active with an original US agency and probably the last New Flyer HF's ever built.

But first, I'll introduce CARTA's other bus types. Bus 1413 is one of a bunch of ex-Golden Gate Transit Flixible Metro's dedicated solely to CARTA's express services. They are very likely the last Flixible buses still active with an Southeastern US transit agency (excluding private shuttles).

CARTA-E1-1413.JPG

They also have some 5000 series Ford cutaways for secondary routes as shown by bus 5011, chiefly in North Charleston, but also one within Charleston. (They have eliminated two similar routes in the Mount Pleasant area recently and merged another route based at the Citadel Mall with a route utilizing regular buses).

CARTA-r102-5011 -2.JPG

Being a tourism-heavy city, CARTA has a long-standing tradition of running trolley replicas as tourist shuttles, as shown by trolley 122.

CARTA-r211-122-1.JPG

35ft. New Flyers are, however, the mainstay of CARTA's fleet. Buses 3405 and 3406 represent the D35HF's, while buses 3505 and 3508 represents the D35LFR's. The latest situation I heard was that they have received a few more D35LFR's with a revised design similar to CMRTA (Columbia, SC)'s buses, and the D35HF's are slowly on their way out.

CARTA-r010-3405.JPGCARTA-r010-3406.JPGCARTA-r030-3505 -3.JPGCARTA-r301-3508 -1.JPG

All pictures were taken on December 2011 at the downtown area except 3508, which was taken at the Citadel Mall. Hope you'll enjoy my pictures in the CARTA (Charleston) gallery. Thanks!

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Very neat. The D35HF is powered by Series 50, possible Allison B400R.

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35ft. New Flyers are, however, the mainstay of CARTA's fleet. Buses 3405 and 3406 represent the D35HF's, while buses 3505 and 3508 represents the D35LFR's. The latest situation I heard was that they have received a few more D35LFR's with a revised design similar to CMRTA (Columbia, SC)'s buses, and the D35HF's are slowly on their way out.

I did see several of the newer D35LFR's last July with the revised front design - 3513 was the highest-numbered bus I spotted. The D35HF's were still out in force, as were the Flxible Metros on the express routes.

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It appears they have now received some New Flyer Xcelsior 40 foot buses numbered in the 4000's.. Does anyone know how many are in this batch? I also do not know if these are XDE40's or just XD40's as they do have the full length roofline. Any help is appreciated.

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Nice find! The green one might be the BAE hybrid XDE40 that was Altoona tested.

It can be seen as bus number 1015 at altoonabustest.com

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I spent a morning last week in Charleston and got some photos of CARTA. Fleet wise they appear to be about the same as Buzz reported in 2013. There were still many D35 and Metro D to be spotted during the peak period. A couple of the local routes were operated with cutaways, but mostly D35LFR and D35. I did not see any XDE40 units. The 4 NASH Express had a D35LFR on it despite being advertised as 100% hybrid. I did not venture to the north region to see the 105 route or routes that only operate out of the superstop, so perhaps there were XDE40 operating or perhaps a couple of new units in that area.

16694405136_9f2c886a9e_t.jpg 16513028627_67d3f996d2_t.jpg 16534176739_72dd6b7089_t.jpg 16532882520_e5d32bcde4_t.jpg 16720308825_98413eeeaf_t.jpg 16719044191_8561d2f2e2_t.jpg 16513019887_83bbbeae27_t.jpg 16532885170_aa421990be_t.jpg

A few more photos can be found here if interested: flickr.com/photos/thetransitcamera/collections/Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority

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Several of CARTA's retired Flxibles are/were up for auction on Govdeals.  As one might expect, bids were a bit higher than the usual used transit bus.

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New MiDi buses in Charleston! Mayor says they have one of the oldest transit fleets but that is changing!

In downtown Charleston: out with the trolley, in with the shuttle

"The DASH shuttles, built in Minnesota, are green like the trolleys, but that's where the similarities end. The 30-foot-long NewFlyer MiDis look much more modern, with padded seats and larger windows. They also are 6 inches narrower (only 8 feet wide), helping their drivers navigate their three routes through the city's narrow streets. Each shuttle cost $335,000 and can hold 53 riders. . ."

Its "just a taste of the upgrades that CARTA hopes to put in place over the next few years, most of which will be made possible by Charleston County voters' decision last month to approve a new half-cent transportation sales tax.

About $600 million of the $2.1 billion raised is expected to go to improving transit, including the creation of a bus rapid transit line from Summerville to Charleston.

CARTA's other goals are to replace its aging, regular bus fleet, add more trolleys and convert the fleet from gasoline to compressed natural gas."

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5 hours ago, MAX BRT said:

New MiDi buses in Charleston! Mayor says they have one of the oldest transit fleets but that is changing!

In downtown Charleston: out with the trolley, in with the shuttle

"The DASH shuttles, built in Minnesota, are green like the trolleys, but that's where the similarities end. The 30-foot-long NewFlyer MiDis look much more modern, with padded seats and larger windows. They also are 6 inches narrower (only 8 feet wide), helping their drivers navigate their three routes through the city's narrow streets. Each shuttle cost $335,000 and can hold 53 riders. . ."

Its "just a taste of the upgrades that CARTA hopes to put in place over the next few years, most of which will be made possible by Charleston County voters' decision last month to approve a new half-cent transportation sales tax.

About $600 million of the $2.1 billion raised is expected to go to improving transit, including the creation of a bus rapid transit line from Summerville to Charleston.

CARTA's other goals are to replace its aging, regular bus fleet, add more trolleys and convert the fleet from gasoline to compressed natural gas."

Great for CARTA! Any other bus orders for them have been announced? 

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On 12/3/2016 at 1:26 PM, MAX BRT said:

New MiDi buses in Charleston! Mayor says they have one of the oldest transit fleets but that is changing!

In downtown Charleston: out with the trolley, in with the shuttle

"The DASH shuttles, built in Minnesota, are green like the trolleys, but that's where the similarities end. The 30-foot-long NewFlyer MiDis look much more modern, with padded seats and larger windows. They also are 6 inches narrower (only 8 feet wide), helping their drivers navigate their three routes through the city's narrow streets. Each shuttle cost $335,000 and can hold 53 riders. . ."

Its "just a taste of the upgrades that CARTA hopes to put in place over the next few years, most of which will be made possible by Charleston County voters' decision last month to approve a new half-cent transportation sales tax.

About $600 million of the $2.1 billion raised is expected to go to improving transit, including the creation of a bus rapid transit line from Summerville to Charleston.

CARTA's other goals are to replace its aging, regular bus fleet, add more trolleys and convert the fleet from gasoline to compressed natural gas."

Do you know how many were ordered?

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On 11/5/2018 at 6:46 PM, Orion6025 said:

Does anyone know when CARTA plans on retiring the Flxibles and D35HFs?

soon, if not already. More buses on order

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1 hour ago, TheAverageJoe said:

soon, if not already. More buses on order

Yeah since that post the Gillig suburbans have arrived.

-

Proterras in feb

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2 minutes ago, Orion6025 said:

Yeah since that post the Gillig suburbans have arrived.

-

Proterras in feb

Sad to see the old stuff go but im glad they did get funding for new stuff.

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So a few notes on CARTA:

  • The Flxibles are definitely slipping. It used to be 12 or so out per rush hour, now it's only 4-5 usually*. Time's running out pretty quickly
  • For whatever reason the NABIs haven't ran that much lately. Only 1445 is actively out and about, but of course that can change (I've been informed that these will not be retired, at least as of 1/5/19)
  • The Gillig fleet numbers at least 7 now, with 4011 being the highest in service (That I know of). 5014 was seen on delivery a while ago so it's safe to say the Flxibles are in their last days/weeks of service
  • The Flxibles generally run only on the 203 and XP1 by this point. The 203 was consistently 100% Flxible until today when Gilligs and New Flyers started handling the route
  • The XP2 is generally always Gilligs and New Flyers but sometimes a NABI will sneak on, the XP3 used to have Flxibles somewhat consistently but lately it's been 100% low floors. That said, Flxibles and NABIs sometimes show up on that route, and with the last XP3 runs of the night being interlined with the XP1, the chance of a high floor showing up is still plausible
  • The D35HFs run like popcorn,  they're easier to find than the D35LFRs. They're generally concentrated in North Charleston. A few will be retired once the Proterras arrive in February 2019. CARTA will be recieving a few more Proterras over the coming years but I forget how many it is per year. Anyway, those will assist in D35HF retirements
  • The XP4 now seems to exclusively run with an Alexander Dennis Enviro200 (35 ft it looks like) as opposed to the usual XDE40, which has been pushed into local service. This likely retired another D35HF

*I say this only to give an idea of how many Flxibles are out. This number can vary widely since CARTA seems a little spontaneous sending more buses out on some days rather than others (For instance, the 203 usually only has 2 buses. However, some days they'll send 3 or 4...)

--

I may post a few more notes/thoughts/observations tonight if I see fit. Most of what I mentioned has already been edited into the wiki so have a look at that if you wish. That said, the active roster for the Flxible fleet is out of date; that's what the fleet looked like before the Gilligs arrived (And I'm inclined to believe that the D35HF active roster has changed slightly too). I have no idea exactly which ones are remaining. FWIW 1403, 1427, 1433, 1439 all ran this morning. If anyone has an accurate, official CARTA roster, please let me know or edit it into the wiki. Thanks!

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16 of the Flxible Metro buses are up for sale on GovDeals.com. Here is the link: GovDeals.com

This includes 1403, 1406, 1409, 1410, 1411, 1413, 1416, 1423, 1426, 1429, 1430, 1431, 1433, 1436, 1439, & 1441

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On 3/15/2019 at 2:18 PM, alexb320 said:

16 of the Flxible Metro buses are up for sale on GovDeals.com. Here is the link: GovDeals.com

This includes 1403, 1406, 1409, 1410, 1411, 1413, 1416, 1423, 1426, 1429, 1430, 1431, 1433, 1436, 1439, & 1441

One went to a private owner/collector in SoCal

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