CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- You’ve seen the big 40-foot, 65-seater CATS buses crisscrossing the city, right?
Would you be surprised to learn there are some of the routes averages as few as two people on board?
The NBC Charlotte Defenders did some digging and found out there are a handful with very low ridership.
Airport 590 averages about three passengers per trip. The cost is $989,000 annually. That route runs from the Northlake nonstop to the Charlotte Douglas airport. The airport pays that bill.
Here are the annual costs of the local routes:
- 45X Carmel Road Express averages 7.2 passengers per trip. Annual cost: $269,548.
- 88X Mountain Island Express averages 10.5 passengers per trip. Annual cost: $146,308.
- 42 Carowinds averages 12 passengers per trip. Annual cost: $128,516.
- 98 McCoy Road averages 2.1 passengers per trip. Annual cost: $351,308.
- 41X Steel Creek Express averages 10.1 passengers per trip. Annual cost: $265,124.
We asked CATS CEO John Lewis about the Airport 590 route specifically and asked him about the low ridership.
“We are recommending number one, that route be eliminated. We are working with our partners at the airport to provide alternatives for those people who do make use of the now. We don't want to leave anybody out there hanging,” Lewis said.
Lewis said CATS is looking at car and van pool alternatives some of the routes with low ridership but still meeting passengers’ needs.
Taylor Leach, a flight attendant, told NBC Charlotte she rented a home near the Northlake Mall specifically so she can take Airport 590 route to get to her job.
“When they get rid of this route in a couple of months how will that affect you?” asked NBC Charlotte Defender Mark Boyle.
“I'll either have to move to cut down on Uber prices or invest in a car,” she said.
Route 590 discontinues in October and will be replaced with alternative transportation. It’s unclear when or if the other routes mentioned will be changed or stopped all together.