CARTA offering to step in for CCSD if bus strike happens

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority has offered to step in and help Charleston area students get to school if unionized bus drivers strike.

      CARTA said Friday that it was working with Charleston County School District officials on a contingency plan in the event of a strike.

      "When the safety of the children in our community is at risk, it is important for us to do everything we can to support and protect them," said County Council Vice Chair and CARTA Chairman Elliott Summey. "Charleston County helps to financially support CARTA and it is our duty to serve this county's school system, the children and their families. Should a work stoppage occur, CARTA in conjunction with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office will be working with the school district to ensure the safety of the persons most affected by this situation- our children. "

      CCSD, along with Dorchster District 2 and Beaufort County Schools, are waiting on a deal to be struck between Durham School Services and Teamsters Local 509, the union that provides drivers for most of the buses in the three districts.

      The two sides have been in negotiations since July, Durham said Wednesday. At last update from the bus company, the two sides' offers were 55 cents apart.

      Officials at DD2 and Durham said a strike is highly unlikely while the two sides remain in negotiations.