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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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The vast majority of transits systems in the USA (and the world) now use contactless fare cards for payment-Atlanta has the Breeze Card, Seattle has the ORCA card, LA has the TAP Card, SF has the Clipper Card, Chicago has Ventra, Boston has the Charlie Card, and so on. IIRC, Charlotte and NYC MTA are two of the largest transit systems in the USA without a contactless payment system-even though the MTA has announce that MetroCard will be contactless by 2022. 

I honestly don't know what is taking CATS so hard to implement a system. When I emailed someone from CATS around 4 years ago when such a system was to be implemented, they said by late 2015 to early 2016. The ability to have a pay as you go fare medium that is constantly reloaded when the balance hits zero would be huge timesaver to those who frequently use transit. 

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^^ Hong Kong has a the Octupus card that serves the MTA subways, buses, trams and can be used at McDonalds, 7-11,  Circle K and various quick serve restaurants (including a few sit down restaurants like Pizza Express) You can load in up at any of those places too or at any station. 

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^^It does even more-when I studied abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong years ago, some professors even took attendance with the Octopus card! IIRC the only way to make copies or print at the libraries on campus were using an Octopus card as well. The problem I found out with the card (very quickly) was that I found myself spending more money than I actually should be spending, simply because the card was so accessible and I always had money on it-"Oh look! This station has a bakery! Let me go get some cake" would be a daily thought to myself. 

The thing about the Octopus card that drove me crazy when I lived there though was that you had to top it up with cash-the TVM's didn't accept card payment. I had to go to an ATM everytime I wanted to top up.

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22 hours ago, JBS said:

Not constitutionally.  But you won't win this argument (or the one taking place on the bike sharing thread) with the general public.  You may win it with UP'ers but most people aren't giving up their cars to ride transit exclusively (and they vote).  I'm pro-transit and pro-bike and would like to rarely use my car (a Prius, FWIW).  And you've lost me.  Good luck with the idiots enthusiastically supporting Trump (apologies to anyone I've offended), who somehow won a nationwide election and might (God help us) win another.

To be fair, nobody in this thread has suggested banning non-autonomous cars to benefit transit. Tarwater did mention forcing drivers out from behind the wheel  in order to create a fully-autonomous car future (and he also suggested halting all transit investment because 'it would go the way of the dinosaurs'). Third Strike's 'not a right' comment was referring to that remark -- it was wholly unrelated to transit.

When the revolution comes I am with you --  'the man' is going to need to pry my car out of my 'cold dead hands.' I appreciate the freedom afforded by a car so much that I consider GPS shortest-path directions to be a sinister plot to limit my right of self-determination. Gun control / NRA debates are going to look like a kindergarden talent show compared to what will happen when 'the man' tries to take away people's Cameros and pickups.

I say all this as a guy who will be commuting on the blue line everyday starting next month and believes that Charlotte needs to more than double the number of dockless bikes and that drivers should pay the full cost of road maintenance and externalities (and I sincerely believe this should include ending all free parking everywhere).

Edited by kermit
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15 hours ago, LKN704 said:

The vast majority of transits systems in the USA (and the world) now use contactless fare cards for payment-Atlanta has the Breeze Card, Seattle has the ORCA card, LA has the TAP Card, SF has the Clipper Card, Chicago has Ventra, Boston has the Charlie Card, and so on. IIRC, Charlotte and NYC MTA are two of the largest transit systems in the USA without a contactless payment system-even though the MTA has announce that MetroCard will be contactless by 2022. 

I honestly don't know what is taking CATS so hard to implement a system. When I emailed someone from CATS around 4 years ago when such a system was to be implemented, they said by late 2015 to early 2016. The ability to have a pay as you go fare medium that is constantly reloaded when the balance hits zero would be huge timesaver to those who frequently use transit. 

They'll probably going finish the fare cards in 2019. But the "Tap and Go" machines will take longer. They'll probably won't work a lot at first. How would the fare officers know if you've paid if you have a contactless card? Anyway, CATS'll probably finish all the machines in like 2021, because this is CATS we're talking about.

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How would the fare officers know if you've paid if you have a contactless card?


They can check your contactless card’s account.

Also, word to the wise, when CATS does implement this system, don’t keep your card in your phone case. Seems convenient, but your smartphone’s NFC chip is much stronger and will interfere with the handshake. I learned my lesson in SF with the Clipper Card (I didn’t really think it through beforehand.) I’m actually surprised more systems don’t just use your phone, but then I guess that would over complicate the process.

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2 hours ago, soumith050118 said:

They'll probably going finish the fare cards in 2019. But the "Tap and Go" machines will take longer. They'll probably won't work a lot at first. How would the fare officers know if you've paid if you have a contactless card? Anyway, CATS'll probably finish all the machines in like 2021, because this is CATS we're talking about.

In proof of payment systems, fare inspectors regularly travel throughout the system with handheld readers that can read your card and determine where and when you last tapped your card. 

 

1 hour ago, AuLukey said:

 I learned my lesson in SF with the Clipper Card (I didn’t really think it through beforehand.) I’m actually surprised more systems don’t just use your phone, but then I guess that would over complicate the process.

 

Its funny that you say that. I used to have a Windows Phone and whenever I would travel to another city and used their transit, I would put their fare card in my wallet. Sometimes my phone would be on top of the wallet, and when contact was made with the card, my phone would start vibrating and a chime would go off. 

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Also in the Charlotte Magazine podcast with CATS ceo it seemed like they were focusing more on the mobile app which also has the contactless payment. He said it's not well known but you can use it on the reader for the CATS buses. Makes sense to me to focus on the mobile app since that is where technology is shifting. 

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3 hours ago, michaelef said:

Also in the Charlotte Magazine podcast with CATS ceo it seemed like they were focusing more on the mobile app which also has the contactless payment. He said it's not well known but you can use it on the reader for the CATS buses. Makes sense to me to focus on the mobile app since that is where technology is shifting. 

How would you get discounted passes from the mobile app? I get discounted passes from my company.

Interesting Conversation http://wfae.org/post/charlotte-talks-cats-ceo-john-lewis-light-rail-extension-and-systems-future-plans 

Edited by soumith050118

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from Twitter today 

More

Looking forward to riding the LYNX Blue Line Ext? Tell us why by emailing [email protected] (by Fri 2/16 at noon) & you could be selected to be part of a test group ride! Riders must include their phone #, full name, & must be available during daytime hours.

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https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2018/01/09/much-anticipated-gateway-station-project-could.html

The existing transit center on Trade Street will remain, Lewis said, adding that bus connections will continue there because of its proximity to the Blue Line but that operations will "look very different in the future."

What do you think Lewis means when he says this? One person from The Charlotte Gateway Station thread on UrbanPlanet thinks this means CATS will raze CTC, and sell it to a private developer. 

Scribe thinks this means " I see it as a first sign of the CTC block being re-purposed - most likely a much smaller (think 4-6 bus spots along Brevard) footprint, with the existing CTC razed and sold to be developed."

Do you think Gateway Station will become the primary hub in Uptown? If this is true, I would not like that. CTC is closer to more jobs. What are your thoughts?

 

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I would love to see it go down to pretty much Express service and maybe 2 other routes.

I’d like to see a very small uptown hub at Gateway with local routes. Not many. 

Id like the bus routes to be mainly consolidated along the blue line. Anyone who needs to go to uptown can be routed to the blue line and just get off at the best uptown location. 

 

IMO, for riders of transit. It’ll be so much better and make so many trips much shorter If there are more cross town routes and neighborhood routes intertwining along the blue line as opposed to going all the way uptown then back tracking . 

Bus bays along blue line stations is just such a great strategy IMO 

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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1 hour ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

Bus bays along blue line stations is just such a great strategy IMO 

And yet BLE will only have five stations with bus bays, basically the four with parking, plus UNCC.  Unfortunately, this is fewer stations than the original Blue Line.

Building fewer park-and-ride stations may have made sense, if also building more ways to transfer.  And the closest bus bay to Uptown is out at Sugar Creek Station, making it rather hard to downsize the CTC.

The very definition of insanity is regularly repeating the same mistakes. But the definition of amplifying their mistakes with each new project would be CATS.

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4 hours ago, southslider said:

And yet BLE will only have five stations with bus bays, basically the four with parking, plus UNCC.  Unfortunately, this is fewer stations than the original Blue Line.

Building fewer park-and-ride stations may have made sense, if also building more ways to transfer.  And the closest bus bay to Uptown is out at Sugar Creek Station, making it rather hard to downsize the CTC.

The very definition of insanity is regularly repeating the same mistakes. But the definition of amplifying their mistakes with each new project would be CATS.

I wonder if Rosa Parks & Eastland bus hubs make that not such a big deal. 

 

Also, it seems even though some stations don’t have park and ride, several routes were still tied to LRT stations that don’t have park & ride.

 

here is a very detailed, map that shows bus numbers that will be served by each number and a map of every new route:

Bus.Rail.booklet.pdf

 

 

 

Bus routes that connect to each station:

36th Street: 3, 23

sugar Creek: 4,13,211

old Concord: 39

Tom Hunter: 11,21 

UC Blvd: 11, 50, 54

JW Clay: 22,29,47, 59, ccX

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

36th Street: 3, 23

Tom Hunter: 11, 211

 

The transfer for 36th St Station is the bus stop pair on Davidson St at the Fire Station. Not exactly the place to add more congestion, or try to replace the CTC.

Tom Hunter will be a heavy transfer point from Hidden Valley, especially given no LYNX station at Walmart. The transfer point there are bus stops in the outer through lane of Tryon Street. Traffic will be stopped as long as it takes these two routes to serve the in-street stops (no pull off).

 

 

Edited by southslider

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13 hours ago, soumith050118 said:

Do you think Gateway Station will become the primary hub in Uptown? If this is true, I would not like that. CTC is closer to more jobs. What are your thoughts?

My comment on the smaller CTC is about ~5 after Gateway Station opens. I really do not see a big changes re CTC until 2030. But right around 2030 I think CATS will consider the option of shuttering the CTC and selling the land (just my speculation).

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2 hours ago, AirNostrumMAD said:

It’s what, 15 minute peak and 30 minute off peak for two routes. 

8 buses an hour in the heart of NoDa, as well 8 buses an hour on Tryon at Tom Hunter. Yet it's not the frequency, but the dwell time that really stops traffic. A transfer stop has much higher ridership, taking more time to load and unload large crowds going to and from each of these two sans-bay stations.  But hey, guess that's punishment for drivers not taking transit. 

Edited by southslider

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^Maybe even until 25th Street opens, and that hasn't even started construction.  McCreesh Place is a transitional housing site for individuals living in poverty. It is located on Davidson at 25th.

If Charlotteans can avoid driving through Trade and Tryon, they best learn to not drive through NoDa.

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