CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people will be waiting a little longer for the bus. That’s because Charlotte Area Transit System is reducing the frequency of over a dozen routes.
CATS said 20% of its routes will be impacted.
This could create some challenges for those who depend on public transportation to get to work, school and other daily activities.
“I try to use the bus a lot because that is my means of transportation right now,” Charles Chehtm said.
Signs with the modified routes are posted at the transit center. Starting Monday, the agency is reducing on how often 14 local and express routes run. For some buses that could mean doubling the wait time.
“I know every 15 minutes I'll have a train and a bus but every 30 minutes, oh my gosh,” Florise Eugene said.
Why is this happening? Well, like many industries, CATS is being plagued with a staffing shortage.
“It’s not fair for us who uses it," Bianca Aguilar said. "I wish that they could find a better solution than that."
CATS reported 91 absences Monday, a regular occurrence for the agency.
Jason Lawrence is the director of planning for CATS.
“The changes to the schedules are a way for us to make sure our schedules match the number of operators we have each and every day,” Lawrence said.
The focus was on routes where buses arrive at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes while maintaining the frequency of those that run 30 minutes apart, and longer.
“We looked at ridership on all our routes," Lawrence said. "We looked at each trip and looked at loads of 20 to 30 boarding per trip. We saw through that ridership analysis that our services could allow for service modifications to still accommodate the ridership that is in place."
Staffing shortages are impacting industries across the country. According to a the American Public Transportation Association, 92% of transit agencies are having a tough time hiring new employees and 71% had to cut or delay service because of worker shortage issues.
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Now 80% of CATS routes will stay intact. By reducing its services to match the staffing at hand, Lawrence said it can provide more reliable service.
It is looking to hire more bus drivers and as operator availability changes, routes will be added back on.
Transit Management of Charlotte is hosting a job fair Tuesday and Wednesday at the Sugar Creek Transit Station. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be on-spot interviews available and folks can catch a free ride to the fair.
“You’ll see a lot more notifications for our career fairs as we try to recruit and retain employers,” Lawrence said.
Here's which routes will be impacted:
- Route 5 – Sprinter Airport: Current frequency is 15 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes with 20-minute service from 1:30-3 p.m.
- Route 6 – Kings Drive: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- Route 7 – Beatties Ford: Current frequency is 15 minutes, modified frequency is 20 minutes with 15-minutes outbound from Uptown from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
- Route 8 – Tuckaseegee: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- Route 9 - Central: Current frequency is 10 minutes, modified frequency is 15 minutes with 10-minute service outbound from Uptown from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and one early morning trip
- Route 10 - West Boulevard: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- Route 11- North Tryon: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- Route 16 - South Tryon: Current frequency is 15 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- Route 21 - Statesville Avenue: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes with 20-minute service outbound from Uptown from 3–5 p.m.
- Route 27 - Monroe: Current frequency is 15 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes with 20-minute service outbound from Uptown from 3:30-6 p.m.
- Route 34 - Freedom Drive: Current frequency is 20 minutes, modified frequency is 30 minutes.
- LYNX Blue Line: Current frequency is 15 minutes, modified frequency is 20 minutes. Note: 20-minute intervals from 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., then 30-minute intervals until 2 a.m.
- Route 1 – Mount Holly: Eliminating the 11:41 p.m. and 12:41 a.m. inbound trips and 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. outbound trips.
- Route 4 – Belmont: Eliminating the first outbound trip at 5:29 a.m.
- Route 11 – North Tryon: Eliminating the 11:31 p.m. and 12:29 a.m. inbound trips and the 11:55 p.m. and 1 a.m. outbound trips.
- Route 12 – South Boulevard: Eliminating 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: Eliminating the 11:31 p.m. inbound trip only.
- Route 60 – Tyvola: Converting midday trips serving Jackson Park to serve the V.A. Hospital.
- Routes 48x – Northcross Express, 63x – Huntersville Express, and 77x – North Mecklenburg Express: Reducing by three trips each day. Trip times will be shifted up to account for the adjustment.