CATS riders not thrilled about schedule modifications

“I‘ll have to get up way earlier just to hope a bus is actually going to be there on time,” one rider said.
CATS is reducing its amount of bus service stops due to a staff shortage.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Changes are coming for people who rely on CATS buses and light rail to get from point A to point B.

The transit system says what they’re doing will increase reliability for passengers, but passengers say it’s cutting down on times and flexibility.

The changes to the transit schedules come as CATS is experiencing staff shortages and drivers speaking out about safety concerns. This all happening as the union representing them negotiates the latest deal with the contractors who manage the bus system.

Starting the second week of August, the times you can catch some of your local bus routes are changing.

“It already has impacted me; I’ve had to wait over an hour for a bus before because bus drivers – there’s not enough bus drivers so it has made me quite late,” said Anaya, a CATS bus rider.

Passengers have been frustrated for months as the transit system has experienced delays, calls out, and not enough staff to fully function.

The Metropolitan Transit Committee approved schedule modifications to the CATS network Wednesday night.

“With the bus changes now, I’ll have to get up way earlier just to hope a bus is actually going to be there on time,” Anaya said.

Eleven bus routes stretching across Mecklenburg County will see a reduction in frequency starting in about two weeks. The frequency of some routes will decrease between 5 to 15 minutes.

RouteCurrent Frequency (minutes)Modified Frequency (minutes)Notes
5 – Sprinter Airport153020-minute service from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
6 – Kings Drive2030
7 – Beatties Ford152015-minutes outbound from Uptown: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
8 – Tuckaseegee2030
9 – Central101510-minute service outbound from Uptown: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; 1 early morning trip
10 – West Boulevard2030
11 – North Tryon2030
16 – South Tryon1530
21 – Statesville Avenue203020-minute service outbound from Uptown: 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
27 – Monroe153020-minute service outbound from Uptown: 3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
34 – Freedom Drive2030
LYNX Blue Line152020-minutes from 5:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., then 30-minutes until 2:00 a.m.

The changes will impact the Lynx Blue Line --- passengers will see the frequency of trains decrease from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes.

“I wish it would go every 10 minutes instead of every 20 minutes, so I kind of wish it was going in the opposite direction,” Jack Perring, a CATS LYNX rider, said.

“It just means I don’t have quite as much flexibility; it’s not going to be a huge deal,” Brighan Bailey added.

Passengers who spoke Thursday night, say they understand the transit system is dealing with staffing shortages.

“I understand everything from airlines, apparently train lines as well are having shortages so I get it,” Perring said.

“The best thing that we can do really is get up a little early and try to comply with it, it is going to affect me definitely,” Anaya said.

CATS says the changes will not cut any routes when the schedule changes will take effect on Aug. 15.

The transit system says company manages bus operators is working to hire more people. The transit system will host several public meetings ahead of the changes.

In addition, the following routes will see modifications to certain trips, specified below:

Route 1 – Mount Holly: Will eliminate the 11:41 p.m. and 12:41 a.m. inbound trips and 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. outbound trips.

Route 4 – Belmont: Will eliminate the first morning outbound trip at 5:29 a.m.

Route 11 – North Tryon: Will eliminate the 11:31 p.m. and 12:29 a.m. inbound trips and the 11:55 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. outbound trips.

Route 12 – South Boulevard: Will eliminated the 6:14 a.m. inbound trip and the late night short turn trips between Scaleybark and Pressley Road area at 1:06 a.m. (outbound) and 2:03 a.m. (inbound).

Route 34 – Freedom Drive: Will eliminate the 11:31 p.m. inbound trip only.

Route 60 – Tyvola: Will convert midday trips serving Jackson Park to serve the V.A. Hospital.

Routes 48x – Northcross Express, 63x – Huntersville Express and 77x – North Mecklenburg Express: Will be reduced by three trips each day. Trip times will be shifted up to account for the adjustment.

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