CARTA's board on Wednesday approved several changes to Charleston-area bus routes starting in October, when a 20 percent fare increase also takes effect.
The board also asked for an update on plans to establish an express bus route from Summerville to Charleston and learned that the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority still is trying to get the local matching funds needed.
Summerville's town administrator said late Wednesday that the town will not be able to provide the $136,000 needed, indicating that CARTA will have to look elsewhere.
The bus system has a federal grant to establish the express route and has agreed to buy the needed buses, but $272,000 in local funds are needed to match the federal grant. The CARTA Express routes in Charleston County got their local funds from county government, so CARTA had asked Dorchester County for the $272,000.
Dorchester County agreed to provide half the money, but turned to Summerville for the rest.
Summerville Administrator Dennis Pieper said the town is halfway through its budget year and hadn't planned for the expense.
"We don't have the funding at this point," Pieper said. "Certainly, there's interest in a service like that, and the TriCounty Link will help in the interim."
Last month, TriCounty Link, the rural bus system based in Berkeley County, announced it will start two new weekday express routes by the end of August that will connect with CARTA buses in North Charleston.
Stops are planned in Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Ridgeville.
Express routes have been popular with CARTA riders and are among the transit system's most financially successful routes.
Some regular bus routes that have been less successful will see service cuts in October.
The Route 202 South Beltline bus will be eliminated, leaving that route to be served by the northbound Route 201 bus. However, CARTA will add a downtown DASH route that will run a loop from the Visitor Center to Lockwood Boulevard.
The Route 302 Orange Grove Road and Route 303 Ashley River Road will merge, which means less frequent buses on each route, and will no longer serve the historic plantations on S.C. Highway 61.
The Route 106 Otranto/Stall bus will have less frequent service during off-peak hours.
Other bus routes will be expanded to meet demand.
The Route 101 Spruill Avenue bus will get more frequent service, and the Route 102 North Neck bus will become an added route to downtown Charleston, aimed at taking riders off the crowded Rivers Avenue bus.