transit

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.

Rock Hill's My Ride electric buses are lined up at the transit hub.
David Boraks / WFAE

The city of Rock Hill launched a new, free bus service in July, with four loops beginning and ending downtown. Planners decided to use electric buses, making it the first bus system in the country to go electric from the start. 

Steve Harrison

When Charlotte Area Transit System was building the $1.1 billion light rail extension, the transit system projected the entire 19-mile line would carry about 33,500 passengers on a weekday, in the first year. The train is supposed to keep increasing passengers each year after that.

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

State funding for public transportation was cut 26 percent in the budget passed last month by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. That has local agencies like Charlotte Area Transit System scrambling to replace the funds.

Charlotte Area Transit System plans changes to 20 bus routes in October.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Area Transit System plans a series of public meetings over the next three weeks on bus route changes that take effect in October.  

A Blue Line train approaches 9th Street Station uptown.
David Boraks / WFAE

At long last, opening day is here for the $1.2 billion CATS Blue Line Extension. After ceremonies Friday morning, the light rail line from uptown to UNC Charlotte is scheduled to open to the public at 10 a.m.

David Boraks / WFAE

Test trains are running again on the Blue Line light rail extension from uptown to northeast Charlotte, after problems with crossing gates forced a temporary halt Wednesday. Charlotte Area Transit System says the issue won't affect the planned March 16 start of service on the new line.

Michael Fleming takes a photo of his NoDa apartment building from the Blue Line light rail train during a test ride Tuesday.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
The Lynx Blue Line extension from uptown to UNC Charlotte opens in just a month. CATS has been running empty trains on the new light rail tracks since January. On Tuesday, a few citizens were the first to try it out, and they're already imagining the possibilities.

An architect's drawing of the proposed Charlotte Gateway Station on West Trade Street.
Charlotte Area Transit System

Charlotte Area Transit System and NCDOT have lined up funding and nearly completed design work on the on the planned Charlotte Gateway Station uptown.  Planning for the  project began more than a decade ago. The idea is to put passenger rail, the Gold Line streetcar and local and intercity buses in one place.

File photo of CATS CEO John Lewis
David Boraks / WFAE

CATS announced Monday a seven-month delay for the opening of the light rail Blue Line Extension from uptown to UNC-Charlotte. The line is now scheduled to open next March.  The completion will wrap up more than a decade of work on the light rail line. So what's next for Charlotte Area Transit System? Three more transit lines to be built all at once, says CATS CEO John Lewis. At least that’s his goal. WFAE's David Boraks has more.

CATS Proposes Fare Increase

Mar 19, 2014
CATS has cut some bus routes and added others so fewer riders have to pass through the Transit Center uptown.
Charlotte Area Transit System

Public transit riders may soon see the cost of a ticket go up between $.10 to $0.40 for a single fare and from $0.85 to $16.00 for a multiple use pass. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) manager of public and community relations, Jean Leier, says the increase would help keep the current operating hours and levels of service.

"The one thing that our financial policy does is it looks at small increases every two years versus waiting many years and having to do a substantial increase that would really have a negative impact on our customers," Leier says. "You know, a twenty cent would be much different than if you waited many years and all of a sudden had to do – let's say – a dollar to two dollars."

CATS

Major construction of bridges and tracks for the blue line light rail extension will begin in the next few months. And with that, be ready to spend more time in traffic. Charlotte Area Transit System officials announced Friday that it's making a map available to give commuters a heads up on road and lane closures and turning restrictions during construction.

Construction On Blue Line Extension Will Begin 2014

Dec 11, 2013
CATS

Bulldozers have been clawing at the sides of North Tryon for months now to make way for the Blue Line light rail extension.  

Construction on the blue line light rail extension is going to intensify in early 2014. CATS officials gave an update during a public workshop Tuesday night in the University area.


kcstreetcar.org

Charlotte's streetcar project is not dead, but its future is in limbo after the city's initial federal funding application was denied.  Charlotte Area Transit System CEO Carolyn Flowers says there are other grants the streetcar may qualify for, but snagging them could require more investment from the city's taxpayers.


Charlotte Area Transit System

Transportation is a big issue in Charlotte - so is funding it. Officials are exploring financing options for the really big, really expensive 2030 Transit Plan. As a result of the recession, there is a $3 billion gap in funding for the long-term plan that has left some, like Charlotte City Council member David Howard to claim "if we don’t do something different, this 2030 or 2035 Plan is going to be more like a 2080 Plan." He is Committee Co-Chair, along with Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain of a 30-member transit funding working group formed at the behest of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (who has been nominated as Transportation Secretary) to explore possible options to help fund $4 billion worth of projects. They join us to share their findings. The future and funding challenges of Charlotte's transit plan, when Charlotte Talks.

Julie Rose

April 1 marked the beginning of Ron Carlee's tenure as Charlotte City Manager, the first person from out of town to hold the position in more than 30 years. Mr. Carlee brings experience both as a former county manager (Arlington Co., Virginia) and as the COO of the International City/ County Management Association, where he was able to see the operations of cities all over the world. We'll sit down with Mr. Carlee and Mayor Anthony Foxx to talk about how he plans to tackle the city budget, transit and the streetcar debate, the airport situation, and the day-to-day operations of the city, when Charlotte Talks.

Julie Rose

Charlotte officials say this gift from the Federal Transit Administration is the single largest federal grant the city's ever received: $580 million.

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff traveled from D.C. to bring news of what city leaders have expected for several months now.

That hasn't always been the case, though.

"This project was on life support back in 2009," says Mayor Anthony Foxx.

If you ride the bus in Concord and Kannapolis, you’ll soon be seeing some big changes. The cities’ joint bus system called Rider Transit will be getting eight new hybrid-electric buses with free WiFi hotspots. There will also be service on Sundays starting in October 2013 and several improvements to bus stops, including a doubling of the number of shelters, solar-powered street lights and improved security system.

charmeck.org

Extending the light rail from Uptown to UNC Charlotte will cost just over $1 billion. That price tag has contributed to the project's sometimes on-again-off-again status as local, state and federal funds tighten.

But Danny Rogers - the Blue Line Extension's project manager for the city - says all the funding is nearly in place.

"Right now we're just waiting on the full-funding grant agreement - FTA recommended and has approved it, pending the congressional review," says Rogers.

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