Charleston may be a world-class city, but that doesn’t mean she’s at the forefront of public transportation. Man-babies have their strollers, but God forbid we get a trolley down King Street. Flaws aside, the city has plenty of ways to move from one place to another, from pedicabs to Uber to investing in your own bike. Just make sure you plan ahead before any trip — this is the Lowcountry, where the streets flood faster than you think and the people move slower than you ever thought possible.
CARTA is a staple for students who live off-campus. CofC and MUSC students get free transportation, and the buses generally run from early morning until around 7 p.m. For all your chain-shopping and cheap restaurant needs, CARTA offers an easy way to get to Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, West Ashley, and North Chuck. Check online for bus stops and routes.
If you only like to taxi-travel in an environmentally healthy way, give Green Taxi a call. Their cabs are clean — inside and out — and they accept credit cards, which is always a plus when you (inevitably) run out of cash.
Mon.-Sun. 9 a.m.-2 a.m.
If you haven’t been on a pedicab, you’re missing out on a signature mode of transportation in the Holy City. Pedicab is an inexpensive way to get around ($5.50 per person every ten minutes), and a great way to experience all the sights Charleston has to offer. Pedicab drivers are always super friendly and usually pretty funny too, so you get to enjoy some entertainment while riding around the historically bumpy streets of Charleston. Just give their number a call and they’ll pick you up from anywhere on the peninsula in a matter of minutes.
Finding a taxi just got so much easier. When you don’t feel like walking eight blocks from Wentworth to Ann for that show at Music Farm, or you know you won’t be in any condition to drive back to your place on James Island after a Friday night on Upper King, all you have to do is whip out that readily available cell phone and tell your Uber app when and where you need to be picked up. Plus, you can pay right from the app so there’s no scrounging together change from the shadowy depths of your purse and praying that you have enough to cover cab fare.
573 King St.
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
AffordaBike has a huge selection of bikes and bike accessories. If you’re new to biking, looking for a bike can be an overwhelming experience, but the staff at Affordabike is helpful and knowledgeable. The employees will even help you register your bike with campus security. Aside from the wide array of bikes they offer, Affordabike also has a build-your-own custom cruiser option.
The Bicycle Shoppe
280 Meeting Street
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Another shop with no shortage of bikes. You’re sure to find the bike that you’re looking for whether you’re an amateur cyclist or a guru on wheels. The store is close to campus, and they offer a variety of maintenance services as well as accessories.
Rental bikes are for tourists. You live here now, buying your own bike is one of the best investments you can make in Charleston. However, should you decide you’d rather pay for a bike and not own it, or you want to take out-of-town guests for a scenic ride, here are some great rental places:
573 King Street
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Price of rental: $25/day, $55/week
Six Bike Tips for the Savvy Cyclist
1) The first and most important biking tip is to register your bike with campus security. Sure, it costs $1, but you can manage to unearth four quarters from under your couch cushions to afford this. Seriously, it’s worth it because should your bike be stolen — which, unfortunately, happens more often than you’d think — campus security will help locate your bike by the serial number they assign to it.
2) The best way to avoid bike theft is to always lock your bike up by the frame and by the front wheel. Many bike owners make the mistake of only locking their front wheel and stealthy bike thieves easily tackle this obstacle by removing the front wheel and taking the rest of the bike with them.
3) If you care about the bike you just spent your hard-earned money on, then don’t regularly lock it up anywhere outside. Find a garage or somewhere with cover to keep your bike, otherwise your trusty steed will quickly become a rusty steed, especially because of Charleston’s infamous flash floods.
4) When you first start using your shiny new toy as a means of transportation, try to become familiar with roads that have less traffic. Always ride on the far right side, even on St. Philip Street, if you don’t want to upset campus security.
5) Never bike on sidewalks. If you haven’t already noticed, Charleston’s sidewalks are narrow, crooked, and swarming with pedestrians — not exactly the best terrain to be biking on. Since you should always be biking on the street, you also need to follow traffic laws just like a car or moped.
6) There is a little known, but very significant, law that requires bikes on King Street to be locked on a bike corral, otherwise your bike can (and will) be confiscated.