His resignation comes after the WBTV Investigates Team has been digging into problems with the city’s bus system for months and revealed buses never arriving to pick up passengers, safety concerns from drivers and riders, and broken buses still making it onto city streets.
Most concerning for city leaders about the WBTV Investigation, is the hiring was made without any serious vetting from CATS leadership, despite contractual obligations that gives the city the ability to interview and approve senior leaders brought in by the company.
CATS buses are missing out on money, possibly millions of dollars, because of broken and malfunctioning fareboxes. A WBTV hidden-camera investigation found roughly half of the fareboxes used to punch tickets and collect money aren’t working properly. The numbers are backed up by riders and drivers who have told WBTV the problem has existed for months without a fix.
The July 17 memo from Jones also mentions the contractor from the WBTV Investigation, RATP Dev, several times and says they will be part of the review process. The city manager told council he directed his staff to prepare a “request for proposals” for the bus operations service contract currently held by RATP Dev.
For weeks, Charlotte's transit service, CATS, has claimed its bus service would be impacted by a high number of unexpected driver absences. But internal CATS records show the actual number of unplanned driver absences are far lower than what the transit service has claimed.
WBTV began investigating the bus system after months of problems plagued CATS operations: two shootings, dozens of daily driver absences, buses that don’t show up on schedule and other trips that are never made at all. The lack of clarity among city leaders on who was controlling the bus system’s operations changed after WBTV started asking questions for this story in June.
Data shows between January 1st and March 31st, CATS buses missed nearly 98 trips per day. The consequnces to riders can be significant but CATS isn’t the only transit organization struggling with providing the service its promised.