Local transit activists are calling for CARTA to have bus service to Folly Beach this summer.
"We shouldn't accept another summer without it," said William Hamilton of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit.
The group plans to ask Folly Beach City Council and the CARTA board to support Folly service.
"I really personally don't think another trial will work, but if CARTA wants to try it that's fine with me," said Folly Mayor Tim Goodwin.
People tend to cart a lot of stuff with them to the beach, such as chairs and coolers, and that doesn't work so well on the bus, Goodwin said.
CARTA tried bus service to Folly in 2009, but not enough people responded to justify it, officials said.
Things are different now, Hamilton said, because CARTA has real-time electronic bus tracking for riders, and voters in 2016 approved a half-cent sales tax that included $600 million for mass transit.
CARTA has said it will spend half of its new revenue to develop a bus rapid transit system. The other chunk of CARTA’s money will go to improving its current system, including replacing its aging bus fleet.
A successful beach shuttle requires vehicles configured to carry beach gear that have waterproof interiors. Near-island park-and-ride lots or dedicated transit lanes are also needed. Funding for that type of expansion is not in the agency budget but may be possible in the future, said CARTA spokesman Daniel Brock.
"For now, we remain focused on updating our fleet and implementing amenities, including dozens of new shelters, technology upgrades and improvements to current service," he said.
In 2009, the bus ran three times daily in April and May, averaging a total of 18 customers a day. In August and October, about 25 people used it per day on the weekends. Buses typically accommodate 35 seated passengers and 15 standing riders.
Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit will ask the Folly Council on March 13 to pass a resolution endorsing CARTA service to the beach.
Other places such as Pensacola and Jacksonville, Fla., have bus service to the beach, Hamilton said.
"People from throughout the region can't reach any beach without a car, forcing people who would rather not drive to either buy a car or miss out," he said.