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CATS hosting pop-up meetings on service cutbacks

Charlotte Area Transit System plans to convert its mostly diesel bus fleet to compressed natural gas beginning in two years.
David Boraks

The Charlotte Area Transit system is holding public meetings at bus stops this week to discuss cutbacks to several routes.

The first meetings took place Tuesday morning at the park-and-ride stops in Cornelius and Davidson, where express bus service to uptown is being reduced by three trips a day.

CATS is reducing services to deal with a shortage of bus drivers. The cutbacks include 11 of its busiest routes, many of which serve primarily low-income neighborhoods. The challenges for CATS go beyond a labor shortage. It’s lost 75% of its riders since 2014.

Lamequa Turner, 30, of Charlotte, rides the bus a few times a month.

“I feel bad for those who have to take the bus who have no other way of transportation," Turner said. "But I understand the bus drivers and how they feel."

Turner says CATS and the city of Charlotte need to do more to support its riders.

“They know they can do more and they know they should do more … it’s whether they choose to do more or not, but they know they should definitely do more,” she said.

Tim Gray, a weekly bus commuter from Fort Mill, S.C., shared how the changes and cutbacks will cause him to have to monitor the bus schedule closely — something he never did before.

Gray and Turner both ride Route 16, which currently runs every 15 minutes. However, once the cutbacks go into effect on Aug. 15th that route will run every 30 minutes.

“I’m just going to have to watch the schedule a little more closely. Before every 15 minutes, I didn’t even look at the schedule,” he said.

The next public meeting will take place Wednesday, Aug. 3, at The Charlotte Transit Center, located at 310 E. Trade St., from noon to 2 p.m. It will be followed by a second meeting from 4 to 6 p.m.

If you can't make it in-person, two virtual meetings will be held Wednesday — at noon and 6 p.m. — via CATS YouTube.

CATS Pop-Up Meeting Schedule:

  • Aug. 3: Noon – 2 p.m. and 4 – 6 p.m., Charlotte Transportation Center 
  • Aug. 4: 6 – 8 a.m., at Northcross Park and Ride
  • Aug 4: 6 - 8 a.m., Huntersville-Gateway Park and Ride 

    Virtual meetings via CATS YouTube:

  • Aug. 4 at noon and 6 p.m.
Elvis Menayese is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race and equity for WFAE. He previously was a member of the Queens University News Service. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.
Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.