07.28.15

A Bit of Background: Part 1

Having grown up in Charleston and praised its virtues for years, I was always happy when friends and colleagues came to me for Lowcountry travel advice. I would keep tabs on interesting new restaurants, point them to the locals’  alternatives to the regular tourist traps, and generally try to steer them off the beaten track. Most of all, I would say, you’ve gotta ditch the car. You’ll see so much more on foot, and the true beauty of Charleston is in the details.

Once I’d finished blabbing about what to do and what not to do, another question frequently came up: “Since we’re down there, we’re thinking we’d really like to get down to Savannah for a night or two. Any easy way to do that?”

I’d lay it out. There’s Greyhound, but you’ll need to take a cab or CARTA to the Greyhound Station in North Charleston, and it’s kind of a long trip out there, and it’s really not the most attractive part of town. Then there’s Amtrak, but it’s also really inconvenient to get there from downtown, and it leaves at really annoying times and is frequently delayed.

“So, yeah, it’s kind of a bummer. I’ve really only known people to rent a car.” 

As this conversation played out a few different times, I began to think there might be a way to improve the situation, and I figured there must be plenty of Savannah folks that were experiencing the same dilemma. Thus, the idea for the ACE Basin Express began to develop in my head. A sort of boutique bus line that focuses on a specific market and really tailors the experience. Indeed, it won’t be as cheap as a non-refundable Greyhound ticket, but we can provide a locally made snack, all kinds of help to our riders, and a quick non-stop trip in a cool and comfy minibus (more on that later!). As a transportation planner, I had gained a good deal of experience in the industry, and I’d always had a keen interest in alternative transportation (trains, buses, bikes, feet, etc.). Surely it would be easy to transfer my planning skills to the world of operations.

So, I packed my bags and moved home, thanks to my loving parents who have graciously allowed me to hole up in my childhood bedroom while I get this off the ground. Believe it or not, most things have gone as planned. But there’s still a long way to go before my bus is full of happy, independent travelers. I hope you’ll check back every now and then to read more about it.