dubone

Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

3979 posts in this topic

Okay, I get it about the drinks. I guess I'd just rather see money spent on ticket turnstyles and janitors instead of ticket checker guys. But I suppose if somebody did the math for me on that, I'd be shown how impractical that is, and how janitors couldn't keep up with all the spills. That sounds (reads) snide, but I mean it. I *loved* the DC trains the one time I've been there (for 10 weeks 18 years ago), so if a "no food or drinks" policy helps keep our trains like their trains, then I'm all for it.

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I agree that the London tube's "mind the gap" sprung from a concern over safety and morphed into a cute way to sell tchotckes to tourists. I bought some mugs and fridge magnets :lol: I just thought coming up with a catchy phrase might keep the system in people's minds although the point is to integrate into existing CATS options so people don't consider it any alien way of transportation, hopefully it will become the norm on it's own. Down the line, no pun intended there should be some thought to making the trains web enabled or perhaps placing screens with news updates.

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Ha! I said 'Mind the Gap' in my head about a thousand times and outloud a few times during my 3 train rides this weekend, even though our gap is only 2 inches (which was cool, by the way). Sometimes I do wish we had a quirky and dirty system built in the olden days like London. But I suppose ours will be old and quirky some day too.

You don't want to be near me when I get on an 'Ou est le Metro?' kick, I'm downright annoying.

As for the ticket checker guys, there isn't a savings as they'd still need to have them for train security anyway. The only negative is that 5-10 percent of people ride for free, which doesn't cost them anything other but missed revenue.

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Apparently the rides this weekend were not just limited to locals. Other transit agencies were here scoping out the system. Read here about a visit from a delegation from Tampa. This article was posted on another portion of UrbanPlanet and I thought the Charlotte reader might be interested in it.

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My only complaint so far is that I think the speakers are too loud on the trains. (On the busses, some of the speakers don't work any more so the anouncements are not as loud.) I will probably get in the habit of wearing ear plugs.

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I didn't notice the loud speakers but that may have been because of the loud conversations going on inside a packed train. The wrong stations being announced, tickers reading incorrect, and ticket machines malfunctioning are the current problems i've noticed.

I stopped at the Carson station this morning to purchase a ticket, not because I was going to ride in, but I just wanted a momento with the time and date stamped on it to look back at in 20 years :) One of the ticket machines at the station was not accepting coins so I had to cross the tracks and buy one from the other machine. There was no way for CATS to simulate thousands of tickets being purchase in one day, so these are the kinds of bugs that will need to be worked out.

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I saw one guy with a travel mug of coffee. Speaking of which, I'm still totally befuddled by the "no drinks" policy and the lack of credit/debit card kiosks. I've read all about them, and I still say both are totally stupid. As my wife says "Why are they discouraging people from riding?". That's about it. I don't mean this to sound negative -- I'm just reporting my ride (other than the editorial on the drinks and kiosks). Overall it was pretty cool.

The SF Muni has a system wide No Drinks, No Eating as well policy. But from experience I have never had to trough out a drink, with the exception of a fountain drink. I used to ride the BART, or Lightrail every morning with a Lidded cup of coffee. This was very common as many early morning passengers in SF did as well. So I think even though the policy is No Drinking on Lynx, I think that might be loosely enforced as stated by Tober on the news.

Also they will have debit/credit card kiosk working in a couple of months. They where having some problems with them, so they couldn't use them for opening week like previously anticipated.

Edited by fulcrumsf

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I was disappointed that they didn't have a system telling you how long till the next train. Randomly it would tell you that a train would come in two minutes but that wasn't accurate either. I understand that was probably because of the overcrowding on the first day, but I was hoping for a "next train in 12 minutes" system. Does anyone know if they are going to do this?

Edit: I also heard a few complaints about there no being overhead bars spanning the length of the vehicles.

Edited by tiblerbrit

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I was disappointed that they didn't have a system telling you how long till the next train. Randomly it would tell you that a train would come in two minutes but that wasn't accurate either. I understand that was probably because of the overcrowding on the first day, but I was hoping for a "next train in 12 minutes" system. Does anyone know if they are going to do this?

Edit: I also heard a few complaints about there no being overhead bars spanning the length of the vehicles.

I think they should just post the times the trains leave each station...it would be cheaper than having to have a recording of when the next train is going to arrive

I rode it last night..pretty cool..the east blvd/west blvd is right by my office so I don't even have to take it all the way downtown

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I think they should just post the times the trains leave each station...it would be cheaper than having to have a recording of when the next train is going to arrive

I rode it last night..pretty cool..the east blvd/west blvd is right by my office so I don't even have to take it all the way downtown

I don't think that is necessary, soon or later we will get use to the fact that the train runs every 7.5 mins during rush hour. 7.5 minutes is that long to wait, it's quicker and more likely to be on time than the busiest bus route in Charlotte, Route 9 and that has a 7.5 minutes interval.

Edit: I also heard a few complaints about there no being overhead bars spanning the length of the vehicles.
There is no overhead bar around the doors, just a pole and the bars on the panels separating the seats from the door area. It wouldn't make sense for there to be an overhead bar infront of the doors. I don't think there is an overhead bar in the high floor section of the train as that area is a more constrainted than the low floor sections of the train. Edited by Shawn&Zae

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Disappointing that they don't have a better way of communicating arrival times. I've always found that to be one of the distinctions between good and not-so-good train service; a 15-minute wait can become a trip to the newsstand if you're aware of the delay up front. But standing there for 15 minutes waiting on a train with no idea of how much longer it will take... that sucks. But surely it wouldn't be that expensive as an upgrade?

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Disappointing that they don't have a better way of communicating arrival times. I've always found that to be one of the distinctions between good and not-so-good train service; a 15-minute wait can become a trip to the newsstand if you're aware of the delay up front. But standing there for 15 minutes waiting on a train with no idea of how much longer it will take... that sucks. But surely it wouldn't be that expensive as an upgrade?

agreed. I want a timer.

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I would even be satisfied if it announced which train was approaching in 2 minutes...Instead of "train approaching in 2 minutes" have it say "Northbound train approaching in 2 minutes"...

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agreed. I want a timer.

I haven't had a chance to ride the train yet, but in this article on charlotte.com it says that there are electronic screens at each station that is capable of displaying how long until the next train arrives. Are these not operational yet?

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I wasn't going to report on my afternoon ride, but since it was raining, and I *know* that 77 south and 485 east are parking lots whenever it rains, I had to laugh (after my ride) as I passed over 485 and looked west to see the Big Jam. Ha ha ha ha ha -- suckers. Oh wait, I'm usually one of them.

Bought my ticket at Stonewall at 3:36pm. Immediately heard "2 minutes to train". One finally showed (luckily southbound) 4.5 minutes later, which seemed like an eternity (am I impatient?). (The LED screens also show "train in 2 minutes" but give no indication of direction.) Anyway, 4 minute wait, 21 minute ride, 4 or 5 minutes to walk to car and drive to 485 eastbound. Not bad at all.

I was in the middle of the 2nd train, and it was a much noisier and rougher ride than this morning. People getting on and off at every station. Lots (a dozen or more) people waiting at Sharon to get on going northbound. No human announcements this trip, and the automated ones were all correct as far as I know. No ticket checker. Still lots of CATS people on every platform.

It was frustrating trying to find the Stonewall station. I never did see a sign for it, nor do I know how you're *supposed* to get there. I went in the Westin and found some back escalator and went through a couple narrow deserted hallways to finally get up there. There must be an easier way, I just don't know what it is. Trouble is, I'm probably the test of the typical dumb tourist. Or maybe dumber.

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And is the second most used rapid transit system in the U.S. (with over one million riders a day). I use Metrorail a lot in D.C. I doubt Charlotte (LYNX) not allowing drinks on the trains would make people discouraged from riding it.

Are pets (dogs) allowed on the train? I can't find any information about that. I presume they'd have to be in a carrier.

We rode it last night while it was raining. The steps at the Tyvola station are going to be problematic during an ice storm. I mentioned to the guy manning the stop that it wouldn't be much to string up some sort of cover between the overhead rails but he kind of brushed me off. I guess he's hearing all kinds of comments and suggestions.

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Are pets (dogs) allowed on the train? I can't find any information about that. I presume they'd have to be in a carrier.

There were signs at the stations that said no pets allowed except for handicap assisting / for the blind. Also there were signs for no food, drink and smoking on the trains themselves, although I hear that as of right now you are allowed to smoke at the stations...

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Bought my ticket at Stonewall at 3:36pm. Immediately heard "2 minutes to train". One finally showed (luckily southbound) 4.5 minutes later, which seemed like an eternity (am I impatient?).

Actually, studies have shown that when people are put in a "waiting" situation (like standing on a train platform, waiting for another person to make a turn at a red light, or waiting to be served at a restaurant), each passing minute seems exponentially longer than the last. People frequently estimate wait times to be 3 or 4 times longer than the actual time. This is something that people in the service industry -- including public transportation -- have to be attuned to, because it is entirely possible for an ordinary person in hurry to become completely exasperated by a 5 minute wait.

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although I hear that as of right now you are allowed to smoke at the stations...

Speaking of which, I saw (out the window) a woman throw down her butt and stomp it out on one of the platforms as she waited for a northbound. I don't get smokers. I *really* don't get smokers that feel the world is their ashtray. I'd like to say I saw an ashtray/sandbox 5 feet from her, but truth is, in my quick glance, I didn't see one at all.

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Speaking of which, I saw (out the window) a woman throw down her butt and stomp it out on one of the platforms as she waited for a northbound. I don't get smokers. I *really* don't get smokers that feel the world is their ashtray. I'd like to say I saw an ashtray/sandbox 5 feet from her, but truth is, in my quick glance, I didn't see one at all.

I think it would be responsible of CAT's to not have smoking at the stations, personally. I'm not going to get into the debate because there is already a thread for that, but it would make non-smokers and other people's experiences on LYNX much more pleasurable, let alone be another indicator of keeping the line clean. Even if they had designated smoking areas or allowed people to smoke off the premises of the station.

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northbound train I got on had a little glitch I guess, it didn't announce the stations or anything and the LED display was stuck on Sharon West

I noticed that. Someone said that it would have been nice if the map doors of the cars had station icons that would light up as the train approached those stations. I thought that was a good suggestion.

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There were signs at the stations that said no pets allowed except for handicap assisting / for the blind.

The sign also said that pets are allowed "for training purposes." Anyone know what that might be referring to? Perhaps police dogs or something?

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I think it would be responsible of CAT's to not have smoking at the stations, personally. I'm not going to get into the debate because there is already a thread for that, but it would make non-smokers and other people's experiences on LYNX much more pleasurable, let alone be another indicator of keeping the line clean. Even if they had designated smoking areas or allowed people to smoke off the premises of the station.

I agree with you on this, however CATS is hemmed in by State Law that does not let them make the platforms smoke free since they are outdoors. If enough people pester our State Legislature then maybe we could see a change here. My feeling is that we will be seeing a lot more local restrictions on smoking with some cities seeing as much as a 70% drop in heart attacks when they implement non-smoking ordinances.

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It was frustrating trying to find the Stonewall station. I never did see a sign for it, nor do I know how you're *supposed* to get there. I went in the Westin and found some back escalator and went through a couple narrow deserted hallways to finally get up there. There must be an easier way, I just don't know what it is. Trouble is, I'm probably the test of the typical dumb tourist. Or maybe dumber.

Yep, trying to get to the Stonewall station from the Westin Hotel lobby is confusing...and I think that might be on purpose. I don't think they want non-hotel guests walking through the hotel to the transit station.

There are 2 easier ways of getting to the station.

1. There is a staircase and a set of elevators on Stonewall St right by the entrance to the Westin parking deck labeled with a big sign that says "Stonewall Trolley Station".

2. On College St there is a sidewalk along the 277 edge of the Westin Parking deck that takes you directly to the station. I don't know if this sidewalk is labeled.

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The sign also said that pets are allowed "for training purposes." Anyone know what that might be referring to? Perhaps police dogs or something?

training riders to get off at the correct stop?

actually, service/assistance dogs get trained by expert trainers in riding transit with their owners.

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