Charlotte transit system CEO John Lewis resigning

Lewis is leaving after months-long WBTV investigation exposed city’s broken bus system
CATS CEO John Lewis is leaving his job at the City of Charlotte, city officials announced Thursday.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 3:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - CATS CEO John Lewis is leaving his job at the City of Charlotte, city officials announced Thursday.

His resignation comes after a months-long WBTV investigation into problems with the city’s bus system that revealed buses never arriving to pick up passengers, safety concerns from drivers and riders, and broken buses still making it onto city streets.

Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones announced Lewis’ resignation at a hastily-called media availability, in a news briefing Lewis was not a part of. Jones said Lewis is taking a new job at a new organization and said that it was Lewis’ decision to leave.

Previous: City Manager announces review of CATS “organizational structure” & “leadership team” after WBTV Investigation

Lewis’ departure comes less than a week after WBTV broke the news that CATS Chief Operating Officer was also resigning. With Lewis’ leaving it’s now a total shakeup of CATS leadership.

For months, Lewis has faced pressure from city councilmembers after WBTV Investigations continued to expose problems with the bus system that were impacting riders and drivers. All too often, city leaders said, they learned more from WBTV’s reporting than they did from CATS leadership and Lewis.

Assistant City Manager Brent Cagle is the interim CEO of CATS while the city conducts a nationwide search for a new CEO.

Previous: Charlotte’s broken buses: CATS mechanic says “I wouldn’t put my family on one of the buses.”

In February, WBTV started reporting on buses not showing up for riders and found thousands of “ghost buses” passengers couldn’t rely on. In July, WBTV revealed that a contractor was actually calling most of the shots at CATS bus operations division. A dozen other investigations exposed problems with fareboxes, broken buses and questionable hiring decisions.

Lewis’ last day with the city is November 30th. Assistant City Manager Brent Cagle, who previously ran the Charlotte-Douglas Airport, will serve as interim CEO while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

City Manager Marcus Jones said the city’s transit priorities remain the same and Lewis will help with the transition period.

In a statement, Lewis said he is taking a new job in the private sector.

STATEMENT FROM CATS CEO JOHN LEWIS: Today, I made the difficult announcement to staff that I am departing CATS to pursue private sector opportunity.

In my seven years with CATS, I am proud of the great work we achieved and that we showed up for the community every day.

I am so thankful I had the privilege to make CATS and every employee a part of this chapter of my life, and I am excited to cheer on CATS as I continue to be a part of the Charlotte community as a transit advocate and rider.