Heating & Air Conditioning

AC Repair in Isle of Palms, SC

Your Reliable HVAC Contractor in Isle of Palms

Your Reliable HVAC Contractor in Isle of Palms, SC

If you’re like most residents living in the Lowcountry, your home is your happy place. It’s where you come to unwind, rest, and regroup for another day at work. But when your HVAC system fails, your peaceful property can turn into an uncomfortable, even unsafe environment. You need to get it fixed, and you need it fixed quickly.

As the most trusted HVAC company in Isle of Palms, Burke HVAC Services, Inc. has the tools, experience, and technicians to help, whether you need a simple maintenance check or emergency HVAC repair. We truly care about your comfort and will do everything in our power to restore your home to the happy place that you love.

Our Service Areas

Our Service
Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc?

When we opened Burke HVAC Services, Inc. many years ago, we did so with one goal in mind: To exceed our customer’s expectations by ensuring that each of our clients received individualized service.

Since that time, we have grown and expanded into one of Isle of Palms’s largest HVAC companies, but we still hold true to that goal. Despite our growth, we are proud to say that we continue to offer a boutique, personalized experience for all of our clients.

When you call our office, you will speak to a trained, knowledgeable customer service professional. When you make an appointment for an estimate, we will come to your residence rather than asking you to come to ours. When you need emergency service, you can rest easy knowing an HVAC tech is their way, no matter what time of day.

Why Choose Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Isle of Palms’s Most Trusted HVAC Business

At Burke HVAC Services, Inc., our customers keep coming back because we believe in hard work, timely service, and fair pricing. Honesty is the backbone of our business, and that will not be changing anytime soon.

Here are just a few more reasons why the Lowcountry leans on Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for their heating and cooling maintenance and repair:

Professional Staff

Professional Staff

Each of our HVAC experts is an EPA Certified Factory Trained Technician. When one of our HVAC techs comes to your home or business, you can rest assured that you will be working with the best of the best.

support

Friendly Customer Service

We know how important that helpful, personable customer service is for our customers. Unlike some heating & air companies, our customer service professionals are local, efficient, and ready to help with all your needs and questions.

Services

24/7 Services

Heating & cooling units tend to break down in the most inopportune times. It doesn’t matter if your HVAC system stops working at 2AM on a Saturday night. Our team is ready to work at the most inconvenient times so you can get back to enjoying your home in comfort.

Licensed & Insured

Licensed & Insured

Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is fully licensed and insured to protect your investment and maintain your peace of mind. If you are not 100% satisfied with our work, we will do everything possible to correct any mistake and make the situation right.

On-Site Estimates and Consultations

On-Site Estimates and Consultations

We won’t ever ask you to come to our offices for an estimate or consultation. Instead, we come to your home or business, so you don’t have to change your daily routine. We cater to your schedule, not the other way around. Call us today at (843) 568-7336 to learn more about our on-site estimates or to schedule a consultation.

Financing Available

Financing Available

To make life a little easier, we offer flexible financing to all of our customers. If you need to pay your bill one payment at a time, we are here to make your HVAC experience as convenient as possible.

When you and your family need the highest level of indoor comfort in South Carolina, Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is ready to get to work – 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Our unbeatable HVAC and air quality services include:

AC Repair in Isle of Palms, SC

Having your AC go out during the hottest days of summer is no fun, but don’t sweat it; Burke HVAC Services is here to keep you cool!

We know that your home’s AC system needs to be fully operational to keep your family comfortable when summertime rolls around. Our skilled AC repair techs in Isle of Palms are ready to help with any AC issue you are having, whether it be a quick fix or full system replacement.

We provide trustworthy AC maintenance services when you need them the most, so you can focus on more important things like your family or business. With the most comprehensive list of AC services in Isle of Palms, we can get your air conditioning pump up to snuff so you can cool down no matter how hot it gets outside.

A few of our most common AC repair services in Isle of Palms include:

  • Filter replacement
  • Broken fan replacement
  • Duct and airflow optimization
  • Motor replacement
  • Thermostat replacement
  • Fan belt replacement
  • Coil replacement and maintenance

Burke HVAC Services, Inc. also offers preventative maintenance and tune-up options for homeowners that would like year-round confidence in their air conditioning system. It doesn’t matter if you have a central heating system for your home or a wall-mounted AC unit for your office – we are just a phone call away from keeping summer heat at bay.

AC Repair in Isle of Palms
AC Installation in Isle of Palms

AC Installation in Isle of Palms, SC

When properly maintained, a good air conditioning system can last for many years. However, if no amount of repairs or maintenance will fix your AC system, it’s probably time to send your old unit to the scrap yard. Before you call us for a replacement system, let us provide you with a thorough exam to make sure it is needed. If we discover that a replacement AC system is required, our skilled technicians would be happy to travel to your to complete the job.

At Burke HVAC Services, Inc., we understand how important it is for you and your family to stay cool during the hot summer months in South Carolina. That is why we are proud to install the highest-rated cooling systems available. When we come to your home or business to install an AC unit, we will take all the time needed to walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.

Any time we install a new air conditioner for a client, we strive to let them know what may be wrong with their original system. We’ll discuss what unit might be best for your home, budget, and cooling needs. Once we have a good understanding for what you need, we will get to work right away to minimize your time without air conditioning.

Our goal is to do the best job possible the first time out, with minimal interference in your life. That way, you can continue enjoying summertime while we work hard to give you a fast, effective AC solution.

Signs You Need AC Replacement in Isle of Palms, SC

Did you know that a broken heat pump or air conditioner can lead to higher utility bills? Updated cooling systems, like the replacement systems installed by Burke HVAC Services, are more reliable and can help lower your utility costs over time.

But how do you know if your air conditioning system is on its last legs? Here are a few telltale signs that your AC unit might need to be replaced:

Signs You Need AC Replacement in Isle of Palms
Warm Air Blowing from AC Unit

Warm Air Blowing from AC Unit

This is a sign that you might need a complicated repair or a replacement AC unit. Before you call Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for an estimate, you should check your air filter first. If it’s too dirty to allow airflow, clean or change the filter and check to see if cool air is flowing now.

Outdated AC Unit

Outdated AC Unit

AC systems typically last between 12 and 15 years. If your AC system has more than 15 years of regular use, it might be time for an AC replacement in Isle of Palms.

Rise in Utility Bill

Rise in Utility Bill

AC units become less efficient over time. Old AC systems use more electricity, which will raise your energy bill. Unfortunately, this situation will only get worse until you replace the system with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Cost to Repair vs. Replace

Cost to Repair vs. Replace

If you find that it will cost you half or more of a new unit’s price to fix your old one, it might be time to consider a replacement AC system. Rather than spending money to fix a dying AC unit, you can purchase a new one that is more energy efficient, which will save you money over the long run.

If you are in need of a replacement cooling system for your home in Isle of Palms, Burke HVAC Services, Inc., is here to help.

Give us a call Today, & and one of our skilled AC technicians will explain the best AC replacement options for your home and budget.

AC Installation in Isle of Palms

Heating Repair in Isle of Palms, SC

Few things are worse than having your heater go out in the middle of winter. Fixing your heater is of the utmost importance when it’s freezing outside, and Burke HVAC Services, Inc. has the tools and technicians to help. With our 24/7 emergency heating repair services, you won’t have to worry about being left out in the cold. Our talented HVAC contractors in Isle of Palms are only a call away, whether you need a minor fix or a replacement heater.

Here are just a few common issues that Burke HVAC Services, Inc. heating technicians can help solve for you:

  • Overheating of your system
  • Faulty or broken heat exchangers
  • Damaged blower or motor
  • Dirty burners
  • Busted limit switches
  • Misconfigured blower belts

Before you start looking at replacement heaters, call Burke HVAC Services, Inc. first so that we can inspect your heating unit. Your issues might be resolved with a quick fix. If we discover that you need a replacement unit, our heating experts will offer guidance on choosing the best unit for your unique situation.

Signs You Need Heater Replacement in Isle of Palms, SC

Signs You Need Heater Replacement in Isle of Palms

If you notice any of the following signs from your furnace, contact Burke HVAC Services, Inc. for an inspection. Our fully-trained furnace repair technicians will detail what issues your furnace is experiencing and offer solutions tailored to your home and budget.

Pilot Light is Out

If your furnace runs on gas and its pilot light will not come on, it is important to address the issues as soon as possible.

Warming Your Home Takes a Long Time

There are many reasons why your furnace isn’t heating your home quickly. From duct cleaning to heating element replacement, our furnace repair technicians in Isle of Palms are here to help.

Broken Thermostat

If your heater isn’t warming your home to the temperature you desire, your thermostat might be broken.

No Airflow

Little to no airflow throughout your home is usually a sign that your ducts or air vents are blocked. Move any furniture away from air vents. If that does not solve your problem, you should seek help from a professional heating repair company like Burke HVAC Services, Inc.

Noisy Heater

While all heaters emanate noise, you should be concerned if you can hear loud noises coming from a different room or your basement. Be cognizant of how much noise your furnace is making. If it seems like a lot, it’s time for a thorough furnace inspection in Isle of Palms.

Our Promise

“Burke HVAC Services, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality HVAC services in Isle of Palms. Our goal is to exceed your expectations consistently, from the moment you speak to our representatives to the time our HVAC contractor in Isle of Palms leaves your home. “Remember that any company can make an honest mistake, but it is what they do about it that makes a difference. We will work to make things right by you; that is our promise.”

Larry H. Burke Jr. President

Our Promise

Latest News in Isle of Palms

Isle Of Palms Inauguration Sees New Mayor, Four Council Members

By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye NewsThe newly-installed mayor of Isle of Palms wants to make a difference during his first term in office by encouraging residents of the island community to treat one another with kindness and respect – “two things that have fallen by the wayside in the past few years” – but he added during a brief presentation at IOP’s municipal inauguration Jan. 4 that “I will not be a pushover or think the world is all roses and rainbows, as some on social media might have sug...

By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News

The newly-installed mayor of Isle of Palms wants to make a difference during his first term in office by encouraging residents of the island community to treat one another with kindness and respect – “two things that have fallen by the wayside in the past few years” – but he added during a brief presentation at IOP’s municipal inauguration Jan. 4 that “I will not be a pushover or think the world is all roses and rainbows, as some on social media might have suggested.” Mayor Phillip Pounds also told the overflow crowd at City Hall that he would host several events aimed at enhancing communication among government officials, business owners and local residents. Four new Council members also were inaugurated at the meeting, including Jan Anderson, John Bogosian, Blair Hahn and Katie Miars. “At some level, no matter our differences in values or opinions, we all want what’s best for our part of paradise,” Pounds said. “I’d like to believe that at our core, we prefer to engage in meaningful, respectful discussions when it comes to issues facing us all – issues I’m well aware we’re all passionate about in our own way.” “I did not survive and thrive in the corporate world for 35 years without rolling up my sleeves and standing my ground and fighting when needed. I will do the same for IOP, but every issue cannot be life or death,” he added.

“We must pick and choose our battles on the important issues that face us and learn to negotiate or compromise while we seek common ground with our surrounding and supporting partners.”

Pounds said he would host a “coffee with the mayor” at an IOP restaurant the final Friday of each month and that he would schedule regular office hours so residents, business owners and visitors will be able to ask questions and learn about ongoing city projects. He said a message from the mayor would be available on the city’s website and through social media “to provide context for decision-making and general updates.” In addition, he will continue holding quarterly meetings with members of the local business community. During the two days following the inauguration ceremony, Council members gathered for a retreat “to define what success will look like, discuss how we’ll treat each other and communicate with each other, receive some training from the South Carolina Municipal Association and review our Strategic Plan and Council Handbook to help create a unified team, all focused on the same agenda,” according to Pounds. At their first meeting of the new year following the inauguration ceremony, the new Council approved appointments to standing committees and to various boards and commissions. Council committees will consist of: Public Safety – Blair Hahn, Jan Anderson and Rusty Streetman; Real Property – Streetman, Kevin Popson and Katie Miars; Personnel – Anderson, John Bogosian and Pounds; Public Works – Jimmy Ward, Bogosian and Hahn; and Recreation – Miars, Ward and Popson. Scott Pierce, Marty Brown, Ron Denton and Suzanne Nagelski were appointed to the Planning Commission, while Arnold Karig and Glen Thornburg were named to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Michael Molony will be the city judge, David Michel the associate judge, Brent Halversen the city attorney and Mac McQuillin the assistant city attorney.

Ward was appointed to the CARTA board of directors; Streetman to the Charleston Visitors Bureau; and Anderson to the Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester Council of Governments. Bogosian was appointed as the liaison to the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee.

Isle of Palms now has more free beach parking instead of less

ISLE OF PALMS — On a barrier island that months ago planned to eliminate 200 beach parking spots, the state Department of Transportation has asserted its authority and instead increased the amount of free parking.Described as a win-win solution by Isle of Palms’ mayor because other city parking restrictions will remain, the hard-fought compromise ends months of dispute over where cars can go at one of the Charleston area’s most popular beaches.“The issue of parking and beach access is greater than the Is...

ISLE OF PALMS — On a barrier island that months ago planned to eliminate 200 beach parking spots, the state Department of Transportation has asserted its authority and instead increased the amount of free parking.

Described as a win-win solution by Isle of Palms’ mayor because other city parking restrictions will remain, the hard-fought compromise ends months of dispute over where cars can go at one of the Charleston area’s most popular beaches.

“The issue of parking and beach access is greater than the Isle of Palms and affects the state as a whole,” DOT Secretary Christy Hall said in joining the mayor and city officials to discuss the work April 19.

They talked as highway department crews laid out more than 200 angled parking spots along one side of Palm Boulevard, a state-owned road closest to the beach.

Hall also announced that the speed limit on Palm Boulevard will be reduced to 30 mph, down from 35.

Opinions on the island were mixed.

“Stupidity!” yelled a man on a bike, riding past as Hall, Mayor Jimmy Carroll and others explained the plan to reporters on Palm Boulevard near 27th Avenue.

Resident Tamara Burrell, who was walking a dog on 27th Avenue, said the plan is a good compromise because parking on residential side streets like 27th will remain limited to residents.

“We’ve gone from no parking, to some parking, to more parking,” she said, giving a shorthand summary of the back-and-forth over what to do with the summer influx of cars that began to increase in rhetoric in 2020.

In 2020, the island restricted nonresident parking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, later in the year, officials announced plans to permanently reduce parking near the beach and charge for what remained.

It all came to a head in September when the Isle of Palms City Council approved a plan to eliminate about 200 parking spaces near the beach.

For the DOT, which has authority over parking along state-owned roads, the barrier island had pushed the issue too far.

Hall immediately rejected the plan to eliminate parking and in February threatened to revoke approval of the city’s entire 2015 parking plan.

“We were getting ready to go into a battle with them revoking our parking plan,” Carroll said. “Luckily, at the last minute, both Secretary Hall and Administrator (Desiree) Fragoso worked well together.”

The compromise that appears to have now ended the dispute adds more free parking along Palm Boulevard by installing angled parking where only parallel parking had existed. All the angled spaces are on the land side of the road where there’s a large right-of-way, while the beach side of the road will continue to have parallel parking.

“This is going to be so much better,” said Carroll. “It’s going to be organized parking on Palm Boulevard.” He added, “it increases parking on Palm Boulevard, but protects the neighborhoods and our parking plan. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Police Chief Kevin Cornett said the new layout should improve public safety because it leaves a large shoulder area between the parking spots and Palm Boulevard.

State workers were still laying out the spaces late on April 19 but the final result is expected to be between 220 and 260 parking spots where there used to be 190, Hall said.

No palmetto trees were removed as part of the plan.

City Councilman Randy Bell said Isle of Palms had worked with DOT on the dimensions of the parking spots to assure they are large enough to handle even generously sized pickup trucks, while allowing 12 feet between the road and the back of the parked cars.

“The city’s goal is safe parking, not to keep people out of here,” he said.

That’s not the perception thousands of people had in 2020 when the city talked about eliminating parking and charging for what remained. Aggrieved residents of Mount Pleasant formed a Facebook group that later became an organized nonprofit, which filed suit against the city.

With the parking dispute seemingly resolved, Isle of Palms and DOT are still in disagreement over recent changes to the Isle of Palms Connector, the main bridge to the island. DOT recently added bicycle and pedestrian lanes to the causeway at the expense of a center lane reserved for emergency vehicles.

Both the city and SCDOT plan to conduct traffic studies to evaluate the results.

CARTA’s summer beach shuttle from Mount Pleasant to Isle of Palms will be free

MOUNT PLEASANT — A summer weekend shuttle bus from Mount Pleasant to the Isle of Palms beachfront will start running May 29, and thanks to just-announced funding from the two municipalities it will be free to ride. CARTA will run a free weekend beach shuttle, May 9 to Sept. 6, from Market Center Boulevard in Towne Centre to the 9th Avenue beach access on the island. SOURCE: ESRI | BRANDON LOCKETT | THE POST AND COURIER The shuttle will run hourly on Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 6 from a stop...

MOUNT PLEASANT — A summer weekend shuttle bus from Mount Pleasant to the Isle of Palms beachfront will start running May 29, and thanks to just-announced funding from the two municipalities it will be free to ride.

The shuttle will run hourly on Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 6 from a stop at the Towne Centre shopping area in Mount Pleasant to the Isle of Palms beach access at Ocean Boulevard and 9th Avenue.

The shuttle will also run on Memorial Day and on Labor Day.

“With this service in place for the season, access to the ocean has never been greater for residents of the region,” said Mike Seekings, chairman of CARTA’s board.

When the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority originally announced updated plans for the shuttle May 19, the short trip from Towne Centre to the Isle of Palms beach was going to cost riders $4 round-trip.

That’s because IOP at that time hadn’t committed to contribute funding.

“To date, the City of Isle of Palms has declined to contribute any funding to the Beach Reach shuttle service, which the city requested,” CARTA spokesman Daniel Brock said.

The transit advocacy group Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit also criticized the lack of financial support from Isle of Palms needed to make the shuttle free for riders.

But the following morning, May 20, Isle of Palms agreed to contribute $8,000 toward the cost of the shuttle — matching an equal contribution from Mount Pleasant — and CARTA said the shuttle would be free.

“We’ll definitely match Mount Pleasant’s because we want this to be successful,” said IOP Administrator Desiree Fragoso. “It’s something the city has been advocating and we’re happy that people are embracing different modes of transportation.”

She said the funding issue had been a miscommunication.

The summer shuttle will cost an estimated $24,000 to run, with CARTA, Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms each paying $8,000.

CARTA did a test-run of the beach shuttle in the fall. It was prompted, in part, by Isle of Palms’ plan to eliminate much of the free parking at the beach — a plan that was later quashed by the S.C. Department of Transportation.

Brock said that although there’s more free parking at the beach than expected, the Beach Reach shuttle still serves an important need by increasing access to the beach for the area’s growing population.

William Hamilton, executive director of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, said the connection will allow some area residents to visit the beach for the first time. The shuttle will be coordinated with the existing Route 40 and Route 42 buses.

“Before this summer is over, we’ll be taking families with children to the beach on this bus who have never seen the ocean,” he said.

Hamilton noted that the bus stop on Isle of Palms has no seating or shade, and said he hopes the city will work on that.

Fragoso said the city will “be looking at what can be done to address that.”

The 9th Avenue beach access is two blocks south of the island’s beachfront commercial area, where there are shops, restrooms and beach showers.

The hourly shuttle will depart Towne Centre, from a stop on Market Center Boulevard near the Belk Men’s store starting at 9:15 a.m. The last return bus from Isle of Palms will leave at 5:35 p.m.

Riders will need to wear masks, shoes, shirt and pants, or beach cover-ups. Coolers will be allowed, but not bulky items such as surfboards or large beach umbrellas.

Route details and bus tracking will be available on the free Transit App, which can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

Beach Santa to receive Isle of Palms’ distinguished award for litter cleanup efforts

ISLE OF PALMS — The city will recognize a man affectionately known as Beach Santa this week for his efforts in keeping the coast clean and bringing attention to the litter crisis plaguing beaches and waterways.Howard Hogue will receive the Isle of Palm’s Signal 30 Award at a city council meeting on July 27. The award is given on a limited basis with the approval of the city council for special citizen service.Hogue, of Moncks Corner, has become a staple on the beach at the Isle of Palms. He is known for his big whit...

ISLE OF PALMS — The city will recognize a man affectionately known as Beach Santa this week for his efforts in keeping the coast clean and bringing attention to the litter crisis plaguing beaches and waterways.

Howard Hogue will receive the Isle of Palm’s Signal 30 Award at a city council meeting on July 27. The award is given on a limited basis with the approval of the city council for special citizen service.

Hogue, of Moncks Corner, has become a staple on the beach at the Isle of Palms. He is known for his big white beard and is often seen wearing red swimming trunks and a red muscle shirt as he walks along the shore with a litter grabber and bucket.

He picks up litter as he walks and regularly stops to take pictures and talk with beachgoers.

From the summer of 2018 to the end of May 2021, Hogue documented collecting more than 55,000 litter and debris items from the Isle of Palms Beach and more than 75,000 items from the streetscape and parking lots in the island’s Front Beach commercial district.

But his cleanup efforts expand farther than the Isle of Palms and includes other parts of the Charleston region, too. It is believed that he has collected more than 425,000 litter items across the Lowcountry.

“Beach Santa has done an incredible service by helping to keep our island beautiful and protect the coastal ecosystem and public health from pollution,” said Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll in a news release.

Carroll said Hogue is an inspiration and great role model, and he thanks him for his volunteer efforts.

Susan Hill Smith, a city councilwoman and the Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew co-founder, said the 425,000-plus items collected by Hogue was done with “a twinkle in his eye.”

“This kind crusader gladly talks with those on the beach who ask about what he’s doing, ready to share a message for all who will listen about the importance of doing our part to protect the environment and shared public spaces,” Hill said.

To help prevent some of the beach litter, Isle of Palms began restricting smoking on the beach and beach access points in 2020, plus prohibited single-use retail plastic bags, plastic straws, balloons, and Styrofoam coolers, cups and food containers.

Hogue is continuing to document his litter sweeps and anticipates exceeding half a million litter items by the end of 2021.

CARTA’s free weekend beach bus to Isle of Palms often ran empty

MOUNT PLEASANT — The 2021 beach season marked the first time in nearly a decade that regular bus service to a Charleston-area barrier island was available, but officials haven’t decided if the “Beach Reach” bus will be back next year.While free to ride, the cost of operating the bus is on track to average about $100 for every round-trip passenger. And that’s assuming there will be lots of riders on Labor Day weekend, the last three days the bus will operate this summer.The beach shuttle was created...

MOUNT PLEASANT — The 2021 beach season marked the first time in nearly a decade that regular bus service to a Charleston-area barrier island was available, but officials haven’t decided if the “Beach Reach” bus will be back next year.

While free to ride, the cost of operating the bus is on track to average about $100 for every round-trip passenger. And that’s assuming there will be lots of riders on Labor Day weekend, the last three days the bus will operate this summer.

The beach shuttle was created in late 2020 during an uproar over public parking on Isle of Palms, where the city’s plan to eliminate free parking and reduce the amount of parking spots available prompted state legislation and S.C. Department of Transportation intervention to keep free parking widely available.

The hope was that offering a regular shuttle between Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant would ease parking demands on the island, while also giving people without cars a way to reach the beach. However, when the state quashed Isle of Palms’ plan to charge for all nonresident beach parking, that eliminated a financial incentive to use the bus.

On a recent sunny Saturday at peak beach-going time, bus driver Lelia Sanders was waiting for passengers at the designated spot in Mount Pleasant, on Market Center Boulevard in the Towne Centre shopping center less than 5 miles from the beach. The bus leaves Towne Centre at 15 minutes past the hour, from 9:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Sanders’ bus was empty that Saturday as 10:15 approached, and it was nearly time to depart when the Route 40 bus from the Charleston peninsula arrived, with one beach-bound passenger. Less than 15 minutes that passenger was at her destination, steps from the beach, at the bus stop next to Isle of Palms County Park. There were no passengers waiting to return to Mount Pleasant.

That was a busier-than-usual trip.

Through Aug. 29, the bus operated on a total of 30 days covering Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays, making nine round-trips per day. That’s 270 round-trip runs to the beach so far.

During that time there were 397 riders, according to CARTA — but a rider is someone who boards a bus, so there were fewer than 200 round-trip passengers. The three-day Labor Day Weekend will add to the final passenger count.

The cost for the summer of bus service is $24,000, split three ways between the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority, the town of Mount Pleasant and the city of Isle of Palms. If Labor Day ridership is as large as Memorial Day ridership, the cost per round-trip rider for the season will work out to about $100.

The Beach Reach bus isn’t the only free-to-ride bus in CARTA’s system, the others being three DASH routes and the Route 20, all on the Charleston peninsula. Most buses need subsidies on top of any fare revenues, but $100 for each round-trip passenger “tends toward the higher end of the scale,” said CARTA spokesman Daniel Brock.

“The Beach Reach is in its first full season, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

No decision has been made about the shuttle returning for the summer of 2022, Brock said.

Mount Pleasant plans to review final ridership numbers and then discuss future involvement, said Community and Government Affairs Chief Lauren Sims.

Sanders, a CARTA veteran who was the Saturday bus driver all summer, said passengers were a mix of tourists and local residents, including some who traveled from Charleston or north Mount Pleasant on the connecting Route 40 and Route 42 buses.

Most, but not all, were taking the beach bus for pleasure, she said.

“You have people working over there,” Sanders said, explaining that some riders used the bus to get to their jobs.

She said that in Towne Centre she’s had tourists walk over and inquire about the bus. The bus stop is marked, but there’s no sign saying it’s free to ride.

“It takes time, and I think if they bring it back next summer, then there will be more people,” Sanders said.

Like Sanders, Isle of Palms Administrator Desiree Fragoso hopes to see the beach shuttle continue.

“We are hopeful that CARTA will continue to support this initiative as part of a broader effort to lessen traffic congestion in the region, expand this service to other communities and continue to build on its success for many years to come,” she said.

Fragoso said the city would have liked to have seen higher ridership, but since it was the first year of operation “it seems to have been a good start” and a success. The City Council has made no decision, though, about financially supporting the bus after this year.

Going into the 2021 summer season, the plan for the Beach Reach bus changed several times. The shuttle bus service was launched for a trial run in September 2020 at the urging of Isle of Palms officials, who at the time planned to charge for all beach parking areas available to nonresidents in 2021.

When CARTA approved the shuttle bus for the 2021 beach season in February, the plan was to charge riders $4 for a round-trip ride ($2 each way), and the stop in Mount Pleasant was to be at the Department of Motor Vehicles lot on Sweetgrass Basket Parkway at the Isle of Palms connector, and on the island, the bus stop was at Ocean Boulevard at 14th Avenue.

The price and the location of both bus stops soon changed.

By May, before the service began on Memorial Day weekend, the beach shuttle became a free service after Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms each agreed to pay a third of the cost. And the Mount Pleasant bus stop was moved to Towne Centre, where the Route 40 and 42 buses already stopped.

Soon after the shuttle started running, there were complaints that the stop at the 14th Avenue beach access had no shade and was blocks away from public bathrooms. The stop on the island was then moved to a spot adjacent to the county park.

Memorial Day weekend saw the largest ridership numbers for the season, accounting for nearly a quarter of all the passengers seen throughout the summer prior to Labor Day weekend. Memorial Day, a Monday with clear weather, was the busiest day of the season, but some Saturdays and Sundays that followed saw just two or three round-trip passengers and on June 13, a rainy Sunday, there were none at all.

While Isle of Palms officials hoped the bus would ease traffic and demands for parking — a very small change given the number of riders — public transit advocates focused on the idea that people without automobiles should have access to the beach which, in the summer of 2021, they did.

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About Burke Services, Inc

110 W Ashley Ave P.O. Box 879 Folly Beach, SC 29439

T: (843) 568-7336
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