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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


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Here is an Idea for special event days. Why not have someone at each stop selling daily passes for that day at a reduced fair I. E. $3.00 instead of $4.00 that way some one could ride the light rail all day. That way it will be quicker then using the machine and at the end event Lynx will not need to wory about selling a returning ticket. This will result in the following benifits less paper, less litter, less time, and less work. Aslo why does CATS not sell daily passes like the LYNX line?

Edited by SCOTTER
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Just some before and after photos of the view of uptown and the blue line from 11th street. Definitely a big difference!

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With the TVMs being so bad, I wonder if a scalping market will develop during event days :).

I agree with many of the comments and will add also that the same goes for 7th Street when there are two trains. You really don't know which one to go to, and not only have I gone back and forth on a couple of occassions, but I've seen others do the same. For example, they'll either leave the 'Out of Service' on the front screen too long, or they'll delay putting it up. It gets quite confusing when you are looking to that to tell you which one will leave soon and which one will stay there for 20 minutes.

I'll just repeat again, I really hate the TVMs. We've all said it, but it warrants consistent repetition until some remedy is put in place. I've seen other systems of free flowing ticketing systems before (ie. without gates, etc), and these are just the absolute worst. The ones I've seen spit out tickets almost instaneously. I'd actually prefer they used stored value cards as middlemen rather than coins. Then have a separate machine to put coins on the stored value. They are basically printing vouchers to return small change to people, so it is sort of the same thing. I actually will stop with the suggestions. There are a million ways to do it, but the bottom line is that this way is the WRONG way. Too slow, too low, too few, too confusing, too spread out, and too dang slow!

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Here is an Idea for special event days. Why not have someone at each stop selling daily passes for that day at a reduced fair I. E. $3.00 instead of $4.00 that way some one could ride the light rail all day. That way it will be quicker then using the machine and at the end event Lynx will not need to wory about selling a returning ticket. This will result in the following benifits less paper, less litter, less time, and less work. Aslo why does CATS not sell daily passes like the LYNX line?

I am not exactly sure what you are saying. CATS already sells a special event pass for $2.60 and CATS does sell a daily pass. The daily pass is $4.00 on business days, $2.60 on weekends. In regards to less paper, the only paper that I am aware of is the ticket itself. You have to have that to prove that you paid to ride the train.

I don't think the problem is with the fare structure, it is in the implementation in sales. i.e. the TVMs they picked basically suck at what they do. I am not sure they can afford however to pay someone to stay at each station to sell tickets. Remember that operational costs are being funded in part by the transit tax, and every $ spent on operations is less money available for capital projects such as new lines.

The bottom line is there really isn't any reason this stuff can't be handled by automation. Transit systems many many times larger than CATS do it everyday and it's just a matter of getting the right machines in there that can handle the traffic.

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Japan has a very complex transit system but despite that their ticket machines are fairly simple and quick to use. (especially compared to our TVM) Notice that only one screen is presented to sell a ticket. (they understand the ATM vs Coke machine thing)

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Admin note: preceeding pop quiz moved to Charlotte Coffee House

I have to echo all of the sentiment regarding the TVMs. They are very slow, especially if you push the wrong button and need to cancel the transaction. On top of that, if one rides less then 10 times a week and can't justify the purchase of a week pass, getting a 1 way ticket each time is pretty wasteful resource-wise. I know that I have already accumulated a hefty stack of used tickets. I guess that is going to be unavoidable with the proof of purchase fare system.

Additionally, the train arrival announcements seem to be still off by a factor of at least 2. The standardization of the schedule is going to be a welcome improvement. It would also be nice if the digital display boards would flash the next 2 scheduled arrival times, sort of similar to how it is done on the DC metro. This way people could see the current headway and it would make hopping off and getting back on more predictable.

Edited by Mugen682
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Road the train Friday night to go uptown for dinner. Thought the TVM was pretty easy to use, but the printer took forever to print the 4 tix. We barely missed the previous train at the Archdale station so had to wait 20 min on the elevated patform and it was absolutely frigid. I remember going to one of the neighborhood mtgs where they explained the stations would be minimal protection due to costs but also to deter the use of them as refuges for the homeless. I guess its a double edged sword. My inlaws from Cleveland were in town and they loved the experience. First time they had been uptown since we moved back the CLT six years ago.

Road again on Sat a few times. My friends were in town to go to Panthers game. Saw that the Day Pass was marked $2.60 on the screen. Was pretty cool to hop off at East/West and go to Vinnies for a few of hours, hop back on to Stonewall, go to the game, then hop back on after the game (day pass was key). My friends who moved away from CLT to the West Coast a few years ago really liked the experience and couldn't believe how much CLT was growing. Walking by the Wachovia site from the station to the stadium is a pretty awesome experience.

This was the first time I'd ridden since the free day. The 5 times we rode this wknd all the trains were packed (never sat once). Not only was I impressed all my friends and relatives really enjoyed both the experience and more importantly the convenience. There were definately some Chamber moments.

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Something I have noticed is that a lot of people don't realize there are TVM's at either end of the platform. There have been a number of times I will go to a station and 1 TVM will have a line of 5 or so people waiting in line for a ticket...and the TVM at the other end of the platform has no one using it. I think that CATS could do a better job with signage so that people would realize there is usually more than one TVM at each station and you don't have to use the nearest one to get a ticket.

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I finally got around to riding the train for the first time yesterday. I walked over to E/W Station from my apt. I did not find the TVM hard to understand just cumbersome to use. The interface should be more centralized and updated. Having to select from the numbered side panels reminded me of the old fashioned voting back in the 90s. As I had heard that machines give change I put in $10 and ended up donating to CATS :angry: I did not notice the small scroll on the bottom requiring exact change for this particular machine. It should be more prominent..... To me the ticket popped out pretty quickly. I was pleasantly surprised to see most of the car occupied all the way up to Reids and standing room upon return on Christmas Eve of all days. I overheard several groups of people pointing out landmarks to visiting relatives and urging them to move to here. I could not help but look north waiting for the train back from Reids. It just felt more natural. ^_^ The mix of people was a great range of cultures and I talked to lots of different folks and flirted too :wub: Maybe I should ride the train more often :lol: I did my good Christmas Eve deed yesterday too...someone had dropped a Wachovia debit card at EastWest so I hotfooted it over to the nearby Wach branch and turned it in.

Edited by voyager12
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As I feel most of the complaints here on this form are great, and I agree with most of them. I however want to bring up something UP member: Uptownliving has suggested and direct the same complaints to CATS directly by filling out this simple form that literally takes a couple of minutes.

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/Forms/home.htm

I filled it out a couple of weeks concerning the ticket vending machines, and having more of them. They have already mailed me a letter back expressing thanks for my complaints. And even though I don't think 2 added machines to the 485 station and a Manual sales booth will solve the problems many of us have expressed. I do think it is a great gesture that CATS is listening and responding to the complaints. Tober has express also the concern he has with the time it takes to print the tickets themselves, and hopes they will be able to improve it. A couple of seconds could add a lot of relief to hundreds of people waiting on buying tickets.

So please also take action and send in comments to CATS directly. I think they actually do listen to the request and comments.

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also Fri and Sat's they are considering running a last train at 1:30 (for nightlife traffic) and this one would go all the way to the 485 station instead of just going to the homebase.

Does this mean that they'll run the trains until 1:30, or that there will be a special "last call" train at that time only?

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Does this mean that they'll run the trains until 1:30, or that there will be a special "last call" train at that time only?

headways are :30 at that point in the wee hours. The 12:30 am train currently runs all the way to I-485, the 1:00 am train currently ends at Woodlawn. A new 1:30 am departure FSa only would run all the way to I-485, getting there at 1:56.

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Keep in mind that was a mention in the Observer from a departing Tober who retired without much fanfare last week. There has been no decisions to extend hours. As also mentioned in the article and previously here on UP, they need downtime, like most transit systems, to do maintenance at night.

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I hope CATS continues to pay attention to what is happening in town. They have been adjusting cars, scheduling, and hours to work with and around larger events and special nights. When I rode last week they had flyers on board with special hours for New Years Eve (extended to later than typical Monday nights) and they've been pretty good and adding cars and trips on game days for NFL and NBA. I hope this isn't just something that is done at the beginning -- i think this will help bring more people to the trains for special events that might eventually become regular users.

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In the FY 2008 Federal Budget approved by the House of Reps yesterday there is a line item for $1.9M for Charlotte Rapid Transit that will go towards the Preliminary Engineering of the Blue Line Extention. Now the budget goes to the Senate for debate and approval. Both NC Senators Burr and Dole have already publically expressed their support for this funding so it is likely to remain in the budget that goes to President Bush for his signature.

President Bush signed HR 2764 yesterday into law which means that Federal Funding for the Preliminary Engineering for the NE Line has now been approved. This funding will be in addition to previously approved NCDOT and Local funding for the ardious engineering studies that will take about 2 years to complete.

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I caught the train today around 12:30 at the Woodlawn station and it was jammed packed. Then on the return trip at 4 o'clock it was the same way. Apparently a lot of people on their Christmas vacation were taking advantage of the opportunity to check out the train and look around uptown. There seemed to be a lot of tourists uptown of one type or another, maybe some from out of town and others local. I saw numerous people taking photos of everything from tall buildings to the more historical things like the old churches and Old Settler's Cemetery. They never asked to see my ticket today.

Edited by CharlotteDave
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Now that I've had the chance to ride the train regularly, as a reward for my many patient years of waiting for it to open, I am ... moving deeper into suburbia. Yep. ^_^ Currently in escrow, for a house in the Walnut Creek area off Carmel.

I realized that I can now live a little farther out, have a wider yard with more privacy, and maintain a reasonable commute. I still get the benefit of parking for free at a transit stop, and can continue using the train. (I'll keep my old Starmount home, since it'll be a solid rental near a transit station.)

Bet'cha nobody thought the train could "promote sprawl", huh? :) Actually, I have priced units near center city for a while too. But could never overcome the mental barrier of a condo costing more than a house.

Edited by MZT
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CharlotteDave, I boarded at 485 around that time as well so we might have seen each other lol. I traveled down to the QC just to ride the light rail myself and to test out my new camera. I was extremly impressed, ride was nice and smooth and also a good crowd. There were people standing before we even left the 485 station! I do however have a complaint about those darn machines as you have to bend down just to put your money in. There also pretty slow as well, but besides that everything went smoothly. O and on my ride back down our train was a double header, still with standing room only. Overall I had a great trip, I think the gas money was worth it.

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I caught the train today around 12:30 at the Woodlawn station and it was jammed packed. Then on the return trip at 4 o'clock it was the same way. Apparently a lot of people on their Christmas vacation were taking advantage of the opportunity to check out the train and look around uptown. There seemed to be a lot of tourists uptown of one type or another, maybe some from out of town and others local. I saw numerous people taking photos of everything from tall buildings to the more historical things like the old churches and Old Settler's Cemetery. They never asked to see my ticket today.

There have definitely been a lot of tourists and families uptown this week. Around every corner seems to be a family of 8 pointing at stuff, staring up at buildings, and taking pictures. The ice rink on the green is also a hot spot (errr, cold spot) for families on christmas vacation.

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Now that I've had the chance to ride the train regularly, as a reward for my many patient years of waiting for it to open, I am ... moving deeper into suburbia. Yep. ^_^ Currently in escrow, for a house in the Walnut Creek area off Carmel.

I realized that I can now live a little farther out, have a wider yard with more privacy, and maintain a reasonable commute. I still get the benefit of parking for free at a transit stop, and can continue using the train. (I'll keep my old Starmount home, since it'll be a solid rental near a transit station.)

Bet'cha nobody thought the train could "promote sprawl", huh? :) Actually, I have priced units near center city for a while too. But could never overcome the mental barrier of a condo costing more than a house.

I did 180 degrees opposite you. Just made an offer on a unit downtown in order to move my family. The 15 year old loves the idea of her friends and her riding the rail down to the various discounters along South Boulevard, not to mention walking around downtown. (who's in a hurry to help a teenager buy a car anyway. This stalls that idea for a while ) My better half and I love any excuse to ride the rail too, even if it means riding clear down to the movie theaters near the I-85 station. Right now, we're 4.5 miles from the nearest supermarket and we just live a mile or so off of Rama Rd. I find it incredible that we'll be closer to everything while living downtown. Having grown up in suburbia, I don't see the allure anymore. As far as costing more, I think we'll be getting more bang for the buck quality-wise. We don't need 4,000 square feet, most of which we heat and cool for no reason.

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^This is bordering on the edge of being off topic. There are at least a 1/2 dozen topics in this section on where one might post about choosing to locate a residence in Charlotte. Please continue this conversation there and leave this to the discussion on the train.

Likewise I have deleted a topic accusing others here of lying so one more time, and numerous "that is great" onliners. So before you post in this topic (or anywhere on UP) please read the rules and don't create posts that add no purpose.

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^This is bordering on the edge of being off topic. There are at least a 1/2 dozen topics in this section on where one might post about choosing to locate a residence in Charlotte. Please continue this conversation there and leave this to the discussion on the train.

Likewise I have deleted a topic accusing others here of lying so one more time, and numerous "that is great" onliners. So before you post in this topic (or anywhere on UP) please read the rules and don't create posts that add no purpose.

Sorry. I just get so excited about the Lynx and all the benifits, etc.

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There have definitely been a lot of tourists and families uptown this week. Around every corner seems to be a family of 8 pointing at stuff, staring up at buildings, and taking pictures. The ice rink on the green is also a hot spot (errr, cold spot) for families on christmas vacation.

It seems like there are quite a few people in town for the Wake Forest / UConn bowl game tomorrow. We've met quite a few of them out and struck up conversations (primarily trying to figure out why downtown has been so crowded the last few days and nights). Most of them have been using the light rail, many didn't realize we had it until they got here.

Main positive from them - it is fun to ride and they can get to all kinds of stuff uptown, in southend, and around without a car. The part about leaving the car is something for tourists I didn't think about -- driving around a city you aren't familiar with can be a pain, but taking a train is a different story. The main complaint we heard, which is part of the same vein, is the train doesn't go to enough places that a out-of-towner or tourist would want to go -- Southpark, Phillips Place, University, etc.

Its been nice to see a variety of people using the rail for a variety of reasons.

I also agree with one of the posts above -- great that CATS is extending hours for New Years Eve, but they really need to make sure that night, of all, is very monitored and patrolled.

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Bet'cha nobody thought the train could "promote sprawl", huh? :) Actually, I have priced units near center city for a while too. But could never overcome the mental barrier of a condo costing more than a house.

This is why I was uneasy with the line being built all the way out to 485. In a sense, it gives center-city residents a reason to move outward toward SC. While I suppose it's better in the large scheme of things to have them moving toward transit stops rather than interstate exits, it still seems like a detriment to the overall goal of creating traditional communities and connecting neighborhoods.

Though I'm sure it would never have worked politically, I would have liked to see the Blue Line stop somewhere around Arrowood, and the leftover budget go toward another short line toward Myers Park. But I guess that's pie-in-the-sky considering the suburban vote was necessary to get the line built in the first place.

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A few weeks back, there was a link from here to A Mom's Guide to Lynx. Now, in the writer's "Top 10 posts" of 2007 from her blog, she notes:

"We got so much great feedback on this, 5 comments on the site plus lots of verbal comments. So many people told me they tried it out because of the story! (That gives us the warm fuzzies) We also found out that someone linked this story on Urbanplanet.com and we have had hundreds of people view it from there!"

Edited by staffer
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