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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

3979 posts in this topic


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

They don't want you depending on a schedule for the train, and in fact I can't think of a similar transit system that works on timed schedules. The frequencies are supposed to be high enough that you don't need to look at a schedule. The DO need to fix those timers to actually work when the train is 2 minutes away, and to let you know which way its headed in. It would be nice to have the scrolly ITS thing like DC and Atlanta have that let you know when the next few trains are arriving.

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.

^Just to add to your information: Studies also show that on average most people only have to wait about 50% or less of the operating headway to catch their train or bus. Meaning that if there is a 20 minute headway (1 train every 20 minutes), most people will end up waiting only 10 minutes for a train. So for a 7.5 minute headway you would have an average wait time of about 3 minutes, which is not bad at all.

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They don't want you depending on a schedule for the train...

I think they do - perhaps not this week, but eventually. They have printed timetables available, and provide schedules on the web site with the same level of detail as are provided for the bus. In fact, for the rail/bus integration to work as intended, the bus and train must be somewhat synchronized (designed to reduce wait time for intermodal connections).

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WCNC is reporting that 4,500-5,000 people rode the train yesterday on it's first day of revenue service.

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^ It'll be interesting to see how these #'s grow in the next couple months. I'm sure opening the line in cold weather will continue to hold back people on the fence. I'd also suspect many will wait until their monthly parking permits uptown expire to start using the Lynx line daily. In a way, the slow start is good so CATS can work out the bugs in the system.

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Great to hear about NC's first light rail system! I'm looking forward to riding LYNX when I'm in Charlotte for the Thunder Road marathon next month.

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Just rode it northbound from Archdale getting on around 10:00. I had to run an errand so I dropped my truck off at the shop and hopped on the train to go to a class downtown. Unfortunately, there were only 10 cars in the park and ride lot but it was nice to see that each train we passed had about 50 people on it in the middle of the day. Saw one girl get on without buying a ticket but who knows, she might have bought a week pass. I have to harp, like others, on not knowing when the next train was coming. I had no idea if I had just missed the previous train and had to wait 15 minutes or if it would be a short wait. I actually missed the first train cause I was helping an elderly couple figure out the ticket machine. They were having trouble with the "technology" and fumbling with their coins. They almost missed the next train since it stays in the station so short of a time period. I must say I about froze standing up on top of the station. It would be nice if there was some sort of wind barrier cause it's much cooler 2 stories up than down on the ground and I don't know if I'd have a lot of confidence in the roofing in anything other than a straight up and down rain since they are so high off the ground and seemed small. Also, since the train accelerated so quickly from a stop, it seemed like if you didn't get a good handhold or were sitting you would fall down, which is what almost happened to the aforementioned elderly gentleman.

Most of this is just harping on little stuff. Overall I was very pleased with the ride and wish they would hurry up and build one down Independence! I met a very nice couple and another young lady that I probably would never have spoken to and we had a great conversation throughout the ride. As others have mentioned, it was a very diverse crowd on the train. I'll definitely use it again.

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I took a quick ride from seventh street station to bland and back for a few beers at tavern on the tracks last night. Was suprised to see so many people getting on and off at 8pm. Train was full of every kind of person you can think of, too. It really makes Charlotte feel more connected and city-like. It was really cool just riding and listening to my ipod like I was in a NYC subway, only in my hometown. Overall it was very pleasant other than two reasons - When I got on the train, there was a guy who was being a complete prick, telling everyone to get the f*** on and get the f*** off and to hurry up like he owned the train. I think he was homeless and most likely didn't have a ticket. I think he was just enjoying being a general asshole to passengers as they got on and off. Second problem was on the way back, I probably waited 20-30 mins for a working train. Two passed by that said "out of service". This was at around 10:30pm. I realize it's still early and I was just experiencing the early glitches etc. I really see this being a great thing for charlotte though.

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I think the ridership numbers will pick up. Especially once people familiarize them selves with the new bus routes. I must say that a lot of the small complaints I have been hearing are generally common place with all of the different rail systems I have been on. Toronto, DC, SF, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Chicago all have open deck type platforms at some of their stations, so in a lot of instances your out in the bear cold with out any weather shields. I'm sure once ridership is up, and the system is near completion they will add those little additions as needed in more popular stations, and as they can afford to do so. The other little things like the prompters not showing when the next train is coming at certain stations should be primarily an easy fix. As far as the crazy people on the train, well it's unfortunate but it's gonna happen. I was so used to crazy homeless, drugged out people in SF, you learn to faze those people out. I'm sure the ridership averages will jump up when considering people will be taking the light rail to concerts and Bobcat games on the weekdays.

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As far as the crazy people on the train, well it's unfortunate but it's gonna happen. I was so used to crazy homeless, drugged out people in SF, you learn to faze those people out.

I suppose a few hours on the train at $2.60 an hour is worth it to some people, that want to get out of the rain and have nowhere to go.

As far as the canopies go, they are useless for misty weather like we had yesterday morning. Perhaps during "falling rain" they will work better. I get the impression that the canopies may not be complete. There is some framing that looks to me like it could be filled with glass. Maybe they will provide something of a windbreak when every last bit of work is complete.

Edited by MZT

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I think they do - perhaps not this week, but eventually. They have printed timetables available, and provide schedules on the web site with the same level of detail as are provided for the bus. In fact, for the rail/bus integration to work as intended, the bus and train must be somewhat synchronized (designed to reduce wait time for intermodal connections).

I stand corrected. Here is a link to the Blue Line Schedule.

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Took the rail this afternoon for lunch and a meeting Uptown. Got on at the East/West Blvd. station at 1:45pm. It was standing room only. Same on the way back.

What surprised me was the diversity of the train's passengers. For some reason I was expecting the young, white professionals of South End and Dilworth. Boy was I wrong. Mostly black and latino. These were definitely not voyeurs, but rather people going to-and-fro work.

Anyway, Charlotte felt like a completely different city today. Not just because of our sudden urban-ness, but like someone else said, I felt a sense of connection unlike ever before. Very exciting.

To nit pick on problems, there are only 2 ticket kiosks on each side of the Arena station. Even at 2:30pm (off-peak), there was a line to buy tickets. Can't imagine the line after a concert or sporting event at the arena, but I think it's gonna go 30 or 40 deep. They're gonna have to add more kiosks at some point.

Otherwise a great experience and definitely worth the 400 million or whatever. :)

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My friend in CLT report usinng Lynx today and said he enjoyed the experience overall but was freaking cold standing on the platform. He said he doesn't know if he will be able to stand out there waiting in the upcoming cold months, but will wait and see if it will be bearable.

Edited by DCMetroRaleigh

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I already posted my experience from weekend but rode LYNX today just to snap some photos and wanted to report this story as the first time I paid for a ticket and second time using LYNX, this time in day light. I parked and boarded at the East/West Blvd Station about 4:30ish. There were a few ppl on the platform, going both ways. I waited in line for a ticket as a train heading northbound approached. The guy in front of me was fumbling to hurry up, but couldn't get his ticket in time to allow me to get one also to make that train. I told him it's cool and I'm not in a rush. Anyway, paid my small fee, which I felt a sense of pride doing so, not a burdening of the wallet by any means (paid with dignity). Anyway boarded the next train which I didn't have to wait long at all. It was a double train. The first train was about 3/4 full, and the second back train which I boarded only had a few people on it. Nonetheless, it was so good to see a good amount of riders using it on a reverse commute given the time. Going towards the city I felt differently about this city than I had ever before. I got a sense that the city has grown up in a way. It's no longer the baby in the south but a true metropolitian paradise to be. Seeing the city, how all of the streets run at different grades innerweaving eachother, and seeing buildings in all directions glowing from the reflection of the sun. Looking back at S. End which is a paradise in itself. Got off at the Westin, Morehead Station. Took photos. Actually there was a fustrated woman that screamed across the platform if I worked for CATs, because i had my camera and somewhat business attire from work today. I informed her I didn't but could certainly help her answer and qustions. She was fustrated trying to find the Bus Transfer CTC Station. I directed her to come to this side of the platform and she was somewhat relieved. There was only a few people at this station, looked to be business people getting off work somewhat early. I was going to ride north again for more photos but got a call that forced me to get back to the car and end the journey early. Anyway, waited for a train, which the timeing announcements are still off, but pleasantly aboarded another double train that was packed full. Got on and had to stand all the way back to East/West Blvd. Like others have mentioned about the demographics, I was incredible impressed by the diversity. Everything from a bike rider to business men to the little old black woman in the seat, to some teenages. What a crowd that speaks to Charlotte's character. I listened in that ride to peoples conversations to hear opinions about hte train and make predictions about the future of our city based on what the general public wants and is interested in. It was amazing the positive talks. I did come to a conclusion that most people weren't saving driving time by using the train, or was minimal, but more enjoyed the convenience where they could sit and read a newspaper or ride with their friends to their cars and just talk and relax and enjoy the ride and views. A lot seemed to want to use this on a daily basis for work commute with their friends, and others looked to use this as a new beginning of a way of life. Some business men sat reading the newspaper or listening to their music, while others chattered without annoyance on their cell phone talking about how great the train is. Another seemed to be from out of town and was trying to get reservations to or from or something with "Charlotte Douglas International Airport" as he described in its entirety, as well as the new "train system" that helped him get to his destination in Charlotte. Overall, I am somewhat surprised and am extremely pleased by what this line has done for our city. It has single handedly over 4 days changed Charlotte's image, IMO, and changed the way that I get to and around the city, even though I live up in University City. I imagine with the completion of other lines that my car will be used seldomly and can be preserved (wouldn't sell it), while i can do my daily business. Glad to see people hop on board, no pun intended, and can't wait until people get used to this, get the glitches out of the system, expand the network, and have more people realize how great this is from the others that seem to be so appreciative over this.

Photos from today on the line here.

Edited by Andyc545

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I already posted my experience from weekend but rode LYNX today just to snap some photos and wanted to report this story as the first time I paid for a ticket and second time using LYNX, this time in day light. I parked and boarded at the East/West Blvd Station about 4:30ish. There were a few ppl on the platform, going both ways. I waited in line for a ticket as a train heading northbound approached. The guy in front of me was fumbling to hurry up, but couldn't get his ticket in time to allow me to get one also to make that train. I told him it's cool and I'm not in a rush. Anyway, paid my small fee, which I felt a sense of pride doing so, not a burdening of the wallet by any means (paid with dignity). Anyway boarded the next train which I didn't have to wait long at all. It was a double train. The first train was about 3/4 full, and the second back train which I boarded only had a few people on it. Nonetheless, it was so good to see a good amount of riders using it on a reverse commute given the time. Going towards the city I felt differently about this city than I had ever before. I got a sense that the city has grown up in a way. It's no longer the baby in the south but a true metropolitian paradise to be. Seeing the city, how all of the streets run at different grades innerweaving eachother, and seeing buildings in all directions glowing from the reflection of the sun. Looking back at S. End which is a paradise in itself. Got off at the Westin, Morehead Station. Took photos. Actually there was a fustrated woman that screamed across the platform if I worked for CATs, because i had my camera and somewhat business attire from work today. I informed her I didn't but could certainly help her answer and qustions. She was fustrated trying to find the Bus Transfer CTC Station. I directed her to come to this side of the platform and she was somewhat relieved. There was only a few people at this station, looked to be business people getting off work somewhat early. I was going to ride north again for more photos but got a call that forced me to get back to the car and end the journey early. Anyway, waited for a train, which the timeing announcements are still off, but pleasantly aboarded another double train that was packed full. Got on and had to stand all the way back to East/West Blvd. Like others have mentioned about the demographics, I was incredible impressed by the diversity. Everything from a bike rider to business men to the little old black woman in the seat, to some teenages. What a crowd that speaks to Charlotte's character. I listened in that ride to peoples conversations to hear opinions about hte train and make predictions about the future of our city based on what the general public wants and is interested in. It was amazing the positive talks. I did come to a conclusion that most people weren't saving driving time by using the train, or was minimal, but more enjoyed the convenience where they could sit and read a newspaper or ride with their friends to their cars and just talk and relax and enjoy the ride and views. A lot seemed to want to use this on a daily basis for work commute with their friends, and others looked to use this as a new beginning of a way of life. Some business men sat reading the newspaper or listening to their music, while others chattered without annoyance on their cell phone talking about how great the train is. Another seemed to be from out of town and was trying to get reservations to or from or something with "Charlotte Douglas International Airport" as he described in its entirety, as well as the new "train system" that helped him get to his destination in Charlotte. Overall, I am somewhat surprised and am extremely pleased by what this line has done for our city. It has single handedly over 4 days changed Charlotte's image, IMO, and changed the way that I get to and around the city, even though I live up in University City. I imagine with the completion of other lines that my car will be used seldomly and can be preserved (wouldn't sell it), while i can do my daily business. Glad to see people hop on board, no pun intended, and can't wait until people get used to this, get the glitches out of the system, expand the network, and have more people realize how great this is from the others that seem to be so appreciative over this.

Glad to read this post and see the that Charlotte is indeed growing up. I too wish that the north line gets built and the whole transit system will be intergrated. I too feel that rail heavy or light gives a city a certain urban feel and adds to the character of the city. Once this system takes off then I truly hope to see rail spider out to the outlying areas of the metro. For all of those people who doubted and voted against Lynx they will see that it will be feather in the city's cap that attracts more economic success. Also it will continue the growth of the metro area and region. I'm so proud of Charlotte and I hope the QC will keep on pushing forward being the point man for the state.

Edited by NcSc74

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I think what people are describing about the character of the city changing makes sense. It's probably the kind of impression people had when Charlotte opened the airport, or when the first interstate came.

I would agree that in listening to people's conversations, few are really saying the train is a faster method of travelling. Driving *to* the line is a little out of the way and there is time involved in parking and getting tickets and waiting. But they seem to like driving less, saving on gas and parking fees, being able to relax on the way to work.

I'd also say that the train is attracting more professional passengers. I've been riding bus #12 for two years and it always felt like 90% of the people on it were service workers, teenagers, construction workers, people going to their doctors, or to handle some legal problem in uptown. The train has added a new dimension of riders with laptops and business attire to the old bus route.

Edited by MZT

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Everyone has already told similar stories, but this speaks volumes IMO. For my first trip aboard, I was standing beside two elderly white Southern middleclass women. I assumed they were both locals by birth. One to the other (paraphrasing): "I've seen this city growing up for the past 50 years. Everything is so different now. I'm amazed that we can come to the city now and not be mugged or killed. It's amazing what they've done here. And lets face it, we can't be a little hick town for ever."

I guess that last part stuck out in my mind, to know that even the good-old's see the good in this thing. It's not just the transplants, or the businessminded, or the urban geeks. It's mostly everyone that is excited to be a part of this thing.

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ok, this is a VERY small gripe about LYNX but i need to get it off my chest. The fare dispensers - i cant stand how you have to bend down to put in your dollars, and then again bend down to get your ticket and change from the machine! It seems odd to me that they wouldn't have it at eye level... but do you think this is for accessibility reasons? Wish they would have multiple taller machines with one or two low ones.

Interesting thing I noted on my ride home from work today - crowds of Moms and 10 year old girls buying their fares and getting on the train at 485 station, i'm assuming to go uptown for the Hannah Montana show! ha ha ... very good to see.

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Now that the Blue line is up and running I can't help but wonder if Pineville regrets its decision to stop the line at 485. Personally I think their decision was very short sighted.

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revitalize, I do think the ticket machines were set there for children and the disabled to have access to them.

However, I agree that the machines are a weak link in the system. They are a little confusing to use. Lots of people try use them like "touch screens" before finding the buttons on the left and right. I don't think the menus progress easily like say an ATM machine does. They are clunky.

Plus, there is only one machine on each side of the tracks. Odds are, someday you will rush onto the platform to catch your train which is just pulling in -- and DANG IT! *Your* side's machine is not functioning. :angry:

And I'm not yet confident that the machines are ready for all-weather plus summer heat, based on the problems documented earlier this year.

Edited by MZT

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I have a question:

When the trolley re-opens, is it going to "get in the way" so to speak, of the light rail trains?

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Supposedly the trolley only operates on the weekend when there are few light rail vehicles in service anyway, and on the section of the track where LRV speeds have been reduced to be compatible with the trolleys.

I have not seen CATS do anything with the trolleys, other than sporadically wheel them out of the maintenance facility for a year now. There is still some debate (see the old thread) whether CATS will even run them at all. I guess we'll find out for sure after they are comfortable with the scheduling and performance of the LRV's under public operation.

Edited by MZT

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After reading everyones experience of the new addition to CLT, I feel like I have to add mine too. I rode it today (yesterday) from 7th street station to Bland. I had to go to the drug store and wanted to get lunch too. The first thing that caught me off guard was the ticket machine. It was a little difficult to use plus too low. After boarding I noticed the LYNX workers counting the number of passengers and observing. I hope they are surveying for the northline. With the number of people riding now I don't see why they are not breaking ground, but back to the story. After going through the 3rd street station the train became very crowded and I began to smile.

I have experienced NYC and Chicago rail transits and it was at this moment that Charlotte starting feeling like a true CITY. With all the people on the train plus the beautiful veiws of uptown, all I could envision was the completed light rail system and completed skyscrapper projects that will be along the blue line. Once arriving to the Bland station I couldn't help but be excited by the fact that I didn't have to drive and fight traffic to go this far. I walked to the CVS then across the street to the Quizno's and back to the station. It only took the train about 7 minutes to show. However the computer announcer said 14 minutes. I took the train to the 3rd street station and walked to the starbucks then to my car at the 7th street parking deck.

The walk from the 3rd street station to Starbucks put it all in perspective. I will never view Charlotte the same. I can only view Charlotte to what it may become. For that time Charlotte felt new, reborn and not like a city of the "Southern Way." My heart is truely with Chicago and will always be. Im hoping on my one way ticket to Chicago but, if I have to live the remainder of my life in N.C. the state I was born and raised, I hope that it is in Charlotte. Today's ride solidified that.

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I stoped downtown on the way home from work tonight to get some pics of the 3rd st, and Trade st. stations lit up. I actually haven't seen them at night yet, so this was the first time. The 3rd st/Convention center station is great. I'm not sure how much I like it during the day, but its awsome at night. I love all the color that is being injected into the city recently with projects like Levines childrens hospital and this station.

So if you dont live here or just haven't seen them yet, here ya go.

11-27-07

3rd st/Convention center station:

89592621.jpg

89592623.jpg

89592617.jpg

Trade st/Arena/CTC station:

89592627.jpg

89592629.jpg

89592634.jpg

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89592629.jpg

89592634.jpg

Absolutely Breathtaking Mo. I hadn't noticed the Pavers, thank you for showing this station in so much detail.

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