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CATS asking for input from riders as it works to improve transit experience

The project is collecting public comments until the end of March.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Area Transit System initiated Envision My Ride back in 2016 – a program study to help build a better bus network in the Charlotte region. Now the transportation agency wants to hear from its riders as it develops its final recommendations. 

CATS is asking riders about their experiences to improve the overall bus system so folks have reliable and efficient transportation. And riders are happy to sound off.

“A lot of people expect to get home, expect to get to work, expect to get their children... and they use public transportation to do that," Terrous Gibson, a transit rider, said. "So if it could be faster and more convenient people would appreciate that."

Project manager, Bruce Jones said ideally, riders wouldn’t wait more than 15 minutes for buses on key routes. 

"We did make some initial frequency improvements, specifically on route nine Central Avenue," Jones said. "So right now we have 10 minutes service, which is better than we've ever had on that corridor.” 

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With the necessary technology, buses will get the right of way. Jones said CATS is installing infrastructure on buses to communicate with traffic signals known as "transit signal priority." 

Another focus for CATS has been mobility hubs, where riders will have better connections with other forms of transportation to their next destination. 

“Think of that essentially as Lyft or Uber only in the form of transit," Jones said. "So, individuals will be able to request to be picked up within a specific zone or boundary, and then they can use it to connect to frequent transit routes.”

With more bus routes comes the need for more bus operators. CATS has been working to recruit more operators as staffing challenges persist. Tuesday, CATS told WCNC Charlotte it had 60 vacancies for bus operators and 15 vacancies for rail operators. 

"There's been a shortage of employers nationwide that other industries have experienced as well," Jones said. "So we are definitely working to recruit more individuals so that we can ramp up those resources."

CATS is holding several pop-up events for riders to fill out surveys: 

  • March 22 from 5-6 p.m. at the Huntersville-Northcross Park and Ride as well as the Cornelius Park and Ride
  • March 24 from 5-6 p.m. at the Northlake Mall Park and Ride as well as the Huntersville Gateway Park and Ride
  • March 29 from 5-6 p.m. at the Albemarle Road and Lawyers Road Park and Ride as well as at the Matthews Park and Ride

Riders can also complete an online survey.

The project is collecting public comments until the end of March. Jones said once the study is over it will present all final improvement recommendations to the Metropolitan Transit Board this spring.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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