• Announcements

    • Neo

      WARNING!   07/26/16

      By reading or participating in the Coffee House forum, you are acknowledging that some topics may be highly controversial in nature. While we make every attempt to ensure that no one and no groups are offended as a result of discussions contained within, we unfortunately can make no guarantees. Participate in threads contained within this forum at your own risk.

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

monsoon

Why People Don't Ride CATS

Recommended Posts

The 1/2 cent transit sales tax is paying for two bus routes in Huntersville. These are local village riders and only cost 25 cents to use. I've noticed they are usually empty and did a little investigation and found these two routes are almost mutually exclusive of each other. You can either ride in East Huntersville or West Huntersville and neither bus route goe to the CATS Express Bus Lot that connects to 77X which heads to downtown Charlotte.

Even worse than this, have a look at this trip plan in which I plot a route from a neighborhood off McCoy road to Old Statesville Rd. (these were random selections)

Is CATS this bad in the rest of the county? I am really flabberghasted there is no connection to the transit center they just spent a lot of money to build.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


i'm not sure how routes are decided or anything like that, but it is my understanding that they review routes frequently, and cancel them if they are not getting enough riders.

I know that the downtown circulator, Gold Rush, is extremely popular, but i'm not sure about the other local circulator routes in the county.

By the way, it seems that if they are charging only 25c, they should just make it farefree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In keeping with the title...

Why are so many of the CATS stops merely signs with a trash can? It's no wonder that it has a reputation as being "lower class" when people have to sit on overturned shopping carts with no shelter from the sun or rain. I am fervently in support of expanding public transportation, but if they can't even provide minimally decent stops, then maybe we should question their ability to operate a much larger and complicated system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't ride cats because I'm too heavy and would squash them.  Unless maybe you get me a tiger or a lion or something.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There's always Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers if you are too heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's always Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers if you are too heavy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I just need to write Tober and complain about too many small cats. We've got to feed them better or something. We need Rafael Palmiero cats that I can ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason why the city only has bus stop signs and not shelters is because a lot of bus shelters ina lot of lot of cities well.....look ghetto. The city decided instead of putting up shelters thast may look tired after a few years, that they wanted to put up signs for the bus stops. Now, i do think that the city needs to build bush shelters for all or most stops. I think more people will use the light-rail once it opens because of the fact it will have a shelter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i agree, bus shelters are expensive, and often look terrible after a short period of time, causing them to be even more expensive for upkeep.

I think they do add shelters to areas where the ridership is high, but otherwise, they just keep it as a sign.

Incidentally, having only signs on a route allows for there to be much more responsiveness to ridership needs... routes can be added and removed with much less cost than if they needed to build or abandon expensive stops with each route change.

Perhaps they could at least arrange for a seats on the side of the trash bins. I often see bus riders sitting on top of the trash bin, and that is just nasty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Why People Don't Ride CATS, It's a broken system." I'll go with the angle of people going to and from work. One reason people don't rides CATS is because, well.... they don't have to.

People who have vehicles and can afford to drive their cars prefer not to ride out of convenience. The thinking is, why go to a bus stop and wait on the bus schedule when you have more flexibility with a vehicle?

I'm sure we've all been there at one time, being a CATS rider myself (temporarily until the car is fixed), I know what it's like to have to plan my time around the fixed bus schedule on Route 12 South Blvd. It can annoying as heck when you have something pop up at the spur of the moment and have no ride to get there quickly. For most people, if people can drive, they don't ride.

Now for people who do ride CATS, and I don't mean to stereotype, most likely do not own a car. They either can't afford it, license revoked, not old enough to drive, the list goes on and CATS is their only means of trans to work.

And one thing that annoys me. For those drivers who complain about the CATS bus always stopping in front of them and "getting in their way", deal with it. If it weren't for the bus system, there would be more cars on the road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is annoying that there are not more bus turn outs, though. It's obviously of no priority in the transit plan-- the city spent all that money to widen Central Avenue for bike lanes, but did not widen it enough at the stops for cars in the right lane to pass a parked bus. And this is the HIGHEST ridership corridor???

Makes it spooky to be ON the bus and watch drivers weave and swerve around you, too.

Getting back to the stops, some are just a sign with no trash can. Most of them don't have any kind of timetable posted. (Yes, I know, busses never stick to a schedule except in light traffic. But at least indicate if it's a 20 minute, 30 minute, or hourly collection. Is it a route that runs on Sunday, etc.)

And, it's unfortunately true what was said earlier about bus shelters. Some of the stops on Park Road have them, and I saw bullet holes in one. That's supposedly a "nice" part of Charlotte. I think the people living there would probably prefer not to be "reminded" of the riff-raff cruising through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

monsoon, you're gonna get me on a rant! :w00t:

I agree with you dxartist. It's simply too inconvenient to use a bus if you have car. It seems that it's partly due to the moderate traffic, the abundant affordable parking and partly due to the isolated way Charlotte has designed its subdivsions.

It's also a cultural issue. For some people, and there seem to be a lot of them in Charlotte, the bus is a sketchy place. The same sketchy type of people ride the T in Boston, but in most cases (except maybe the Blue Line to Revere) it's not a big deal like it is here. It's just a part of the scenary.

The other thing I've noticed is the public hue and cry for more/bigger roads, instead of better use of existing roads and mass transit.

One solution I can see is to train our kids to use efficient transportation options, so mass transit is not such a sketchy concept when they become adults. If we establish a no-car rule for our high schools, kids will be forced to use the school bus system. This would also clear the congested roads around the schools for better traffic flow and provide more efficient use of our bus investments. It's plainly silly that our kids drive to school for the cool factor. What are we teaching them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On top of all of people's impressions of other bus riders, and the physical inconveniences of using the bus, you have indirect problems simply waiting for it. When standing on a busy street, alone.

You have to smell and hear the traffic. Pan handlers walk up to you and ask for money... yahoos yell at you out their car windows... It's uncomfortable. You want your car back!

I think part of what makes light rail appealing to the middle class, is not just the trains. There are fewer stops, a little more removed from the street, with a small cluster of other riders waiting. It feels a little safer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

clearly people ARE riding CATS busses, as ridership in the system as a whole is has grown steadily (i think this past year's growth was something like 5.5% or 6%). I believe the express services are the ones that are supporting much of the growth, and apparently those routes attract more of the middle class.

It is entirely possible that Huntersville's population does not support their village circulator... and also just as possible that the routes need tweaking to improve ridership. However, CATS seems to be doing a good job overall in expanding routes that get people to ride... they just might be slow to get rid of routes like the one in huntersville that apparently don't attract as many people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody in Huntersville is going to support a system that requires waiting 53 minutes at a bus stop to get across town. You can walk there faster than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But monsoon - you are using an example of a suburb to suburb commute - aren't you? Do you think that would be efficient for a transit system to attempt to serve primarily low dense areas? The full potential of a transit system is to serve high dense areas, but typically any transit system will only serve a low dense suburb via a suburb to city express commute shuttle.

Now - it would make sense for some express service from Huntersville / Davidson to the airport & UNCC. But attempting to serve low density subdivisions / shopping centers at an acceptable level would be impossible. I did view the bus route that serves that area - it seems to be some sort of circulator that attempts to transport people along primary corridors to a park/ride commuter bus stop.

Otherwise, no - I wouldn't see any reason for people in north Meck to use transit unless it was to commute to downtown Charlotte. But I would expect that anywhere in the country, low dense suburbs are strictly for cars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still it doesn't change what I said that nobody, even in NYC is going to support a transit system that puts routes in place that make someone wait 53 minutes at a bus stop. If they want people to ride it, they have to make it useable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason I don't ride CATS is that a car offers better time efficiency, even from the second most dense area of Charlotte (South Park) to the most dense (downtown).

I could theoretically take this route to work every day:

7:30 - Walk from apartment to Route 18 South Park bus stop

7:46 - Catch route 18 bus inbound.

8:15 - Arrive Charlotte Transit Center downtown, begin walk to Gateway.

8:30 - Arrive at office.

Which is a 1 hour commute each direction, whereas:

8:00 - get in car

8:30 - arrive at office

1 hour total per day.

Having used the DC Metro system: that can offer competitive if not better travel times than a car, and is cheaper as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NMcheese: It's the same for me.

7 minutes to walk to stop. At least 5 minutes waiting. 30 minutes riding. This is along South Boulevard! No transfers... straight shot ride.

Or I can drive, walk SEVERAL blocks, and still arrive at my desk in the same amount of time. Plus have the flexibility of my car. And the privacy.

I'm glad the bus is available as an option. But even if it was free, I probably would not use it every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

with their ridership growth, it appears CATS IS doing some good things for offering routes that people need and will use, although it will always be a minority of people who will actually use transit versus personal automobile.

one example of the huntersville village rider is probably not a good indicator of the overall health of the transit system. I would say it is more likely that the huntersville routes are kept running for political reasons rather than ridership numbers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that its backwards for CATS not to provide shelters at stops - it makes the people who have to sit/stand by the trashcan/sign combo feel second class and look second class to those who drive by. I'm all for a flexible system, but has anyone ever driven by the bus stop at the Wal Mart on Eastway and seen how horrid it looks? Bullet holes in plexiglass would look better than the muddy patch of dirt with ~10+ overturned shopping carts and dozens of people at any time of day. Let's push for progress on all aspects of the transit system not just the trendy parts that the middle class approve of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a novel idea, why not do what every other city in the world does and put ad panels in the existing shelters. For a system that needs revenue, what better way to pay for and maintain the darn things. I say put the ads back on the buses too. Again, CATS needs the revenue. Visual clutter be damned, give me some back-lit advertisements that acutally make this town look like city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CATS had advertisements on the sides of their buses for a very long time. But in the last few years, they took them off for some reason. I don't recall what their explanation was.

On another note, I remember reading about a police department putting advertisements on their cars. They were getting free cars that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that its backwards for CATS not to provide shelters at stops - it makes the people who have to sit/stand by the trashcan/sign combo feel second class and look second class to those who drive by.  I'm all for a flexible system, but has anyone ever driven by the bus stop at the Wal Mart on Eastway and seen how horrid it looks?  Bullet holes in plexiglass would look better than the muddy patch of dirt with ~10+ overturned shopping carts and dozens of people at any time of day.  Let's push for progress on all aspects of the transit system not just the trendy parts that the middle class approve of.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

if you look at the bus routs in any city, the majority of the stops are just like what's prevalent in charlotte. a sign and maybe a trashcan. even in major cities there are only shelters at major stops. the bus system in charlotte is really no different than larger bus systems in other cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that its backwards for CATS not to provide shelters at stops - it makes the people who have to sit/stand by the trashcan/sign combo feel second class and look second class to those who drive by.  I'm all for a flexible system, but has anyone ever driven by the bus stop at the Wal Mart on Eastway and seen how horrid it looks?  Bullet holes in plexiglass would look better than the muddy patch of dirt with ~10+ overturned shopping carts and dozens of people at any time of day.  Let's push for progress on all aspects of the transit system not just the trendy parts that the middle class approve of.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

good point, and welcome to urban planet.

i think part of the half-cent sales tax was to improve bus routes, frequency, and bus stop amenities, so i think they are already trying to do this... but i am surprised that a transit hot spot such as walmart on eastway doesnt have benches and stuff... they could buy 10 of them at the walmart for a couple hundred bucks and call it a day :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.