My life changed when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10. Despite that challenge, I eventually went to work for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department and manage a number of local retail outlets.

About two years ago, my vision began to worsen and I ultimately lost my ability to drive safely. I’m currently undergoing treatment for diabetic retinopathy and today, at 37, I use CARTA’s Tel-A-Ride service to get back and forth to the grocery store, doctors appointments and just about anywhere else.

My life has drastically changed, but I still need a way to get around.

Qualifying for Tel-A-Ride was huge for me, and I really like the service, though it is becoming more difficult to use as demand increases. There are sometimes long hold times to schedule a ride, and I can spend up to two hours on the bus as other customers are accommodated. Mailing off for passes is an antiquated process and carrying cash fares makes disabled people targets. Of course, I’ve tried Uber and taxis, but they are just too expensive for everyday use.

CARTA provides a great service to me and many others, but in order for the system to be really effective it has to move into the 21st century. That can be accomplished only through increased investment in public transportation.

More vehicles on the road and better technology to schedule rides and pay fares would make the system better for all riders. And those who don’t use transit will see roads that are less congested because of CARTA, whether they realize it or not.

So, today I’ll stand up for transit, and I encourage everyone in the Lowcountry to do the same.

Bryan Fair

Pristine View Road