CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A weeks-long On Your Side investigation has caught traffic cheaters using the transit lane along Independence Blvd. to escape bumper-to-bumper traffic during the morning rush.
Our cameras were rolling three mornings this summer from an overpass along the transit lane—a bus lane reserved only for use by CATS buses, maintenance vehicles and emergency personnel—on inbound Independence.
We found dozens of vehicles using the lane with seemingly no consequence.
Among the unauthorized vehicles our cameras caught on tape was a US Postal Service mail delivery vehicle, a city-owned truck and two vehicles driven by employees with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Spokesmen for the three agencies all said their employees were not authorized to use the lane and should not have done so.
"It is inappropriate for Postal vehicles to be driven on the transit way," a USPS spokesman said in a statement. "We apologize for this incident and have already taken steps to reinforce appropriate driving practices with our employees."
"It is the expectation of Neighborhood & Business Services that our employees adhere to all traffic regulations, especially when driving city-owned vehicles. We are taking the necessary steps to address this matter in accordance with City personnel policies," a spokesman for Charlotte Neighborhood and Business Services, the city department to which the vehicle caught in the lane is assign, said.
A spokesman for DPS' division of Community Corrections said his agency had launched an internal review of the matter and would take all steps to ensure it does not happen again.
"The Department of Public Safety has reviewed the material provided and early indications are that a few employees admitted to driving state-owned vehicles in the bus lane in Charlotte," the DPS spokesman said. "The department instructed all personnel in the area that this is not acceptable and to immediately stop doing so."
But other vehicles we caught cruising by on tape didn't belong to any agency.
We saw one man, driving a silver Chevy Impala, use the lane each of the three mornings we monitored the lane. We decided to follow him to his destination to ask why he deserved to use a lane that wasn't available to the rest of the public.
"I really have no comment. Just trying to get to work," the man said.