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City Produces Another Artistic Endeavor (Flash Mob)

Ben Bradford

If you’re looking for music and entertainment, the Charlotte Area Transit System might not be the first place that comes to mind. But CATS is becoming quite the producer.


On Thursday, to promote its annual “Clear the Air” initiative, CATS hired a local youth arts non-profit, Inspire the Fire, to put on a “flash mob.” Inspire the Fire was featured on a recent season of America’s Got Talent. About twenty children wearing Clear the Air T-shirts danced in unison to popular songs. The agency says it paid the non-profit “a couple thousand dollars” for three performances plus rehearsals.

Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Captain Clean Air  was the Master of Ceremonies and occasionally got in on the dancing. Clear the Air focuses on encouraging people to get out of their cars and use alternate forms of transportation to lessen their environmental impact. 

“You can take a bus instead of your car. You could ride a bicycle, you could car pool, you could walk. Hey man, there’s all kinds of things you can do to keep the air clear for now and future generations,” the captain told Noah Murphy, 8, in a mock super hero voice.

This isn’t the first time CATS​ the City of Charlotte has used original performances to hype its events transportation initiatives. In March, the city commissioned a rap song about reverse angle parking—slanted parking spots that drivers pull into backwards—when it was first introduced in Plaza  Midwood.

Credit Tasnim Shamma / WFAE
Reverse angle parking rapper Jason Lane

CATS spokeswoman Jean Leier describes the flash mob as a spectacle to grab attention.

“It’s a new way of—people have become complacent—to get them rethinking about it again,” Leier says.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mistakenly identified CATS as the agency responsible for the Reverse Angle Parking RAP. It was the Charlotte Department of Transportation.