According to a College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis study, 60 percent of downtown restaurant and hotel employees live outside the peninsula, and they pay greatly for it. Many fork over between $25 to $100 a month for parking.
It’s a vicious cycle Glenn Morehead became all too familiar with in his seven years co-owning Charleston Culinary Tours.
“I did 1,500 tours through about 40 different restaurants and I got to know those restaurant employees really well,” he says. “The one complaint I heard over and over and over again was about parking and it’s getting worse.”
So Morehead decided to do something about it. Last year, he sold Charleston Culinary Tours and has since launched his answer to the service industry’s parking woes, the F&BUS Charleston, a shuttle service for restaurant workers to and from the peninsula.
“This is going to be a free bus,” says Morehead. That’s right, he said free.
Morehead explains, “There is one thing great about food and bev, F&B takes care of each other.” He expects that same industry-wide sense of generosity to make his bus concept work. “I understand that not every shift is gonna be a big moneymaking shift. Some days you might make $20 and then go to the parking garage and pay $16, but then there are days when people make couple $100 on shift. So, you have a good day and I’ll have a good day.”
Which is to say, F&BUS will run entirely on gratuity, something Morehead doesn’t think will be a problem given the huge response he’s received following his business announcement on Chucktown F&B Collective’s Facebook page.
To begin, Morehead has secured a lot at Famulari’s on James Island with 60 parking spots as well as a West Ashley location at the Publix near Charlestowne Landing. From there, Morehead will drop off and pick up downtown near restaurants on Upper King as well stop near the City Market. He plans to have an early, mid-, and late morning pick up in addition to three afternoon tours. The bus won’t run after 6 p.m. since that’s when the meters become free.
“I’m surprised no one has done this yet,” Morehead says. Although the city is working on park and ride across from the Royal American, Councilman and CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings has said that the city-owned park and ride property that will last a minimum of one year with transit running out of the hub 21 hours a day, won’t be free.
“I hope they do build that lot. Parking is so hard on people, they’re migrating to Park Circle and West Ashley,” Morehead says. Needless to say, one park and ride and one free bus do not a parking solution make. But it’s a start.
For Morehead, he just wants to do his part.
“F&B was really good to me over the years,” he says. “I wouldn’t say I’ve always loved driving, but I am in love with the F&B aspect of it. All my friends work food and bev. Now I can still see them and help them out.”
Morehead has a Class C CDL license and the F&BUS carries 24 people. Rides will begin Feb. 22. For more information, visit F&BUS on Facebook. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
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