CATS

Charlotte Area Transit System, commonly known as CATS. It operates bus and rail service around the Charlotte area, including the LYNX Blue Line and the streetcar line called CityLYNX Gold Line.

Map shows the proposed route for the Lynx Silver Line light rail, from Belmont (left) to Matthews and Union County (lower right).
Charlotte Area Transit System

Charlotte Area Transit System is holding a series of virtual public meetings over the next two weeks seeking comments on the route for the proposed Silver Line light rail. 

Workers installed bridge sides on the Hawthorne Avenue bridge this summer.
Charlotte Area Transit System

City Council members raised questions Monday about construction delays on Charlotte's $150 million Gold Line streetcar project.

Gold Line track has been installed in the roadway along West Trade Street uptown.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System says the $150 million Lynx Gold Line streetcar project remains behind schedule, but service could start in January. CATS blames the contractor for delays that previously pushed back the start from this fall. 

CATS currently has 56 hybrid diesel-electric buses like this one, but no battery electric buses yet.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System is finally getting its first electric buses. A federal grant announced earlier this month will help CATS start to replace the heavier polluting diesel buses it now uses. 

Charlotte Area Transit System CEO John Lewis says the system is in "a good financial position" as it drafts its budget for the next fiscal year.  That's despite a sharp decline in revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jarrett Free is delivering meals to seniors in Alexander County these days in his Greenway Transit van.
Aaron Kohrs / Greenway Transit

In normal times, special bus services are a lifeline for seniors and people with disabilities who need to get to work, the grocery store or medical appointments — even more so now in the time of COVID-19. So many systems are adapting.

Some riders on Lynx Blue Line trains are wearing masks these days.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says the city could shut down public transit if there's a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.  The mayor raised that possibility during a virtual Q&A session Friday morning, but stopped short of saying anything definitive.

A man gets off the 77X Express bus from Davidson Monday morning uptown.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order is now in effect. But for people deemed "essential workers" during the coronavirus outbreak, the daily commute goes on. They work at technology companies and banks, takeout restaurants and construction sites, and most say they're comfortable with the situation. 

A Blue Line train pulls away from J.W. Clay Station on North Tryon Street near UNC Charlotte in this 2018 file photo.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 1:19 p.m.
Charlotte Area Transit System is making buses and trains free, but plans to reduce service by about one-half beginning Wednesday until further notice, as commuting slows because of the coronavirus. CATS says ridership is down 41 percent since early March on buses and the Lynx Blue Line light rail.

Wrong-sized girders on the Hawthorne Lane bridge project delayed work. Now it's delayed again, until July or August 2020.
David Boraks / WFAE

The Hawthorne Lane bridge over Independence Boulevard won't open this month as scheduled. Charlotte Area Transit System says work is behind schedule again and the bridge won't open until late July or early August.  

CATS currently has 56 hybrid diesel-electric buses like this one, but no battery electric buses yet.
David Boraks / WFAE

The city of Charlotte has established ambitious sustainability goals to become a low-carbon city by 2030. But the CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System says he doesn’t think CATS will meet that deadline.

David Boraks / WFAE

The second phase of Charlotte’s streetcar will open by the end of this year, Charlotte Area Transit System chief executive John Lewis said Tuesday.

The Interstate 77 Express Lanes are now open between Charlotte and Mooresville. A CATS commuter bus used the lanes Nov. 14.  CATS says it's currently training drivers and buses will start using the lanes soon.
DAVID BORAKS / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System is overhauling its express bus service from Northern Mecklenburg County to take advantage of the Interstate 77 express lanes. CATS says it will replace the three current express bus routes with four new routes next month, under a new name — MetroRAPID. 

CATS lost about $3.2 million in state funding for public transit in the new state budget.
CATS

A dedicated bus-and-bike lane is opening on Fourth Street in uptown Monday, Dec. 16. The pilot project is a partnership between CATS and the Charlotte Department of Transportation. Speaking on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks, CATS CEO John Lewis said the pilot is meant to improve travel times for buses.

CATS Blue Line train
WFAE

The LYNX Blue Line will close Saturday and Sunday for annual maintenance and bus service will be added in place of light rail service, the Charlotte Area Transit System said. Regular service will resume Monday.

A LYNX Blue Line Train at 9th Street Station uptown. CATS is trying to figure out how to pay for expanding the transit system north, west and southeast of uptown.
DAVID BORAKS / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System wants to City Council to approve a $50 million design contract so the transit system can know how much a new light rail project will cost. 

But some council members are concerned about spending the money before the city has funding to pay for the 26-mile LYNX Silver Line.  

Wrong-sized girders on the Hawthorne Lane bridge project delayed the bridge's reopening until April.
David Boraks / WFAE

Work gets back on track this week on the Hawthorne Lane bridge over Independence Boulevard after wrong-sized steel girders slowed the project to a crawl. The news comes not a moment too soon for neighbors and nearby businesses. 

As cities consider building new rail lines and development around existing ones, you often hear concerns about the changes displacing low-income residents. Research by UNC Charlotte geographers challenges this assumption.

CATS will talk with the new partners about redeveloping the Charlotte Transportation Center, on East Fourth Street.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Aug. 29, 2019
Charlotte Area Transit System has picked a partner for a potential redevelopment of the main bus station uptown.  CATS says it will begin discussions soon with a joint venture of Charlotte developer White Point Partners and Texas-based Dart Interests. 

Officials say the joint venture was chosen in part because it can provide an interim site for bus stops on land it owns across East 4th Street from the current Charlotte Transportation Center, or CTC. CATS also cited the group's "design approach and financial standing."

New lines would expand the Lynx system north and west of Charlotte. CATS plans meetings on how to link new lines with existing ones, including the Lynx Blue Line (photo).
DAVID BORAKS / WFAE

A proposed light rail line connecting Belmont and Matthews to uptown Charlotte could get an adjacent pedestrian and biking trail.

CATS

The Charlotte Area Transit System wants to expand light rail, which would likely require at least a penny sales tax increase.

That means buy-in from Raleigh and likely county voters. In the meantime, CATS has been losing thousands of bus riders.

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

Cities around the nation are phasing out heavily-polluting diesel buses. In many places, they're replacing them with zero-emissions electric buses.  But Charlotte Area Transportation System plans to stick with fossil fuels for now, and convert its 300-bus fleet to compressed natural gas. If the plan goes through, Charlotte won't meet the City Council's goal of eliminating carbon emissions by 2030.

CATS

Police have arrested a man in the Monday afternoon shooting of a transit bus driver in uptown Charlotte.

Drawing shows what the Gateway District might look like after it's redeveloped.
City of Charlotte

Charlotte and state Department Of Transportation officials have put out a call for developers interested in building the proposed Gateway Station mixed-use project next to realigned passenger rail tracks uptown. The development on 13 acres off West Trade Street could include shops, offices, housing and a hotel as well as a new Amtrak train station. 

The new CATS commuter buses are more comfortable
CATS

Thousands of drivers a day have been using toll lanes on I-77 for speedier commutes since the first 15-mile section opened in June in the Lake Norman area. But it may be a while before commuter buses are taking advantage of the lanes. 

CATS Blue Line train
WFAE

People who need to commute between Charlotte and Fort Mill or Rock Hill currently have the option of Charlotte transit bus service that makes limited runs during rush hours. But another idea, a light rail system has been gaining attention in recent months.

File photo of CATS CEO John Lewis
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System CEO John Lewis addressed criticism of the decision to avoid the heart of uptown in plans for a tunnel that would take riders to the airport. He spoke Monday on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks.

David Boraks / WFAE

The Charlotte Area Transit System said Monday that the Republican National Convention in August 2020 at the Spectrum Center will require all streetcar construction to cease for 60 to 90 days, and will likely push the opening of the Gold Line's second phase to early 2021.

Steve Harrison/WFAE

As the first leader of the Charlotte Area Transit System, Ron Tober opened the Lynx Blue Line in 2007.

Tober is now a contractor for the consultant firm WSP, which recently advised CATS on how to finish its 2030 transit plan. WSP gave CATS  options for how to bring an east-west light-rail line through the center city.

Map shows the proposed route of the Lynx Silver Line light rail (purple) from uptown to the airport and Gaston County.
Charlotte Area Transit System

The board that oversees Charlotte Area Transit System has given formal approval to a revised 2030 System Plan, including a rail line to the airport.  

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