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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


dubone

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12 minutes ago, AuLukey said:

I don’t understand why a round trip ticket doesn’t count for the deck.

They did the math amd realized that for most students purchasing a rt ticket everyday and riding the train to campus is cheaper than paying to park on campus.

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This mornings ride was interesting to say the least. Between UNCC and Sharon Rd the train came to an abrupt stop 5 times (4 of those were on the BLE, the last one was just before Sharon Rd.), like the brakes were applied full on. At one point we started rolling back down the Old Concord ramp. It was not very reassuring, I'm really interested in figuring out what was going on...

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3 hours ago, Desert Power said:

Weird that policing the parking garages seems a bigger priority for CATS than checking for fares on the trains

They can collect $10.00 per car as opposed to $2.20 per fare or in case of being caught $50.00 civil penalty however, there is never enough enforcement on board, so you are correct. They have their priorities wrong. 

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I know they are going to eventually build a bridge on 25th and Brevard should fill in with apartment buildings, but I have not seen a person getting on or off there once yet.  I have a buddy in Villa Heights who said he rode it once from there when his wife dropped him off.  Wish they had a plan to connect with the Amtrak.  Just feels like a waste for now.

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33 minutes ago, Desert Power said:

I know they are going to eventually build a bridge on 25th and Brevard should fill in with apartment buildings, but I have not seen a person getting on or off there once yet.  I have a buddy in Villa Heights who said he rode it once from there when his wife dropped him off.  Wish they had a plan to connect with the Amtrak.  Just feels like a waste for now.

Its a desert island there. Closest place to cross the creek is 22nd and it has no sidewalk, 21st street has a sitewalk but its only 2 blocks from parkwood station. Its really a waste for now.

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4 hours ago, kermit said:

They did the math amd realized that for most students purchasing a rt ticket everyday and riding the train to campus is cheaper than paying to park on campus.

an annual parking permit for residents is $450.00. That works out to (with 32 academic weeks) about $2.80 per day.  Both $6.60 and $10 are WAY more than $2.80.  Of course students get unlimited light rail for $25 per semester so they pay nothing extra per day.  Seems to me the real problem with having free parking in the deck is that students could just leave the car there for the semester. 

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3 hours ago, Desert Power said:

I know they are going to eventually build a bridge on 25th and Brevard should fill in with apartment buildings, but I have not seen a person getting on or off there once yet.  I have a buddy in Villa Heights who said he rode it once from there when his wife dropped him off.  Wish they had a plan to connect with the Amtrak.  Just feels like a waste for now.

I was wondering about Amtrak.  It seems that station is about halfway between 25th and 36th, right?  It's not really that close to either, and no sidewalks.  So someone coming off Amtrak with their rolling luggage isn't going to want to pull their luggage through dirt and gravel and a long walk to a lightrail station.   But as for the lack of people getting on and off at 25th, that will probably change when Tompkins Hall opens.

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9 minutes ago, JacksonH said:

I was wondering about Amtrak.  It seems that station is about halfway between 25th and 36th, right?  It's not really that close to either, and no sidewalks.  So someone coming off Amtrak with their rolling luggage isn't going to want to pull their luggage through dirt and gravel and a long walk to a lightrail station.   But as for the lack of people getting on and off at 25th, that will probably change when Tompkins Hall opens.

Not to mention, why tie into Amtrak, when that stations lifespan is MAYBE 5 years max

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Do I have the schedule right (it's hard to figure out trip times on the CATS website): it takes about an hour to go from one end of the line to the other?

If that's the case, do many people start on the north end and ride to points south of uptown?

Maybe CATS could consider running a few express trains in addition to trains that stop at all stations, perhaps stopping only at one or two high-ridership stations north of uptown but stopping at all stops south of uptown, and the reverse (stopping at only a few stations south of uptown, but all stations north of uptown), to speed things up? 

Or has this already been considered and rejected?

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4 minutes ago, PuppiesandKittens said:

Do I have the schedule right (it's hard to figure out trip times on the CATS website): it takes about an hour to go from one end of the line to the other?

If that's the case, do many people start on the north end and ride to points south of uptown?

Maybe CATS could consider running a few express trains in addition to trains that stop at all stations, perhaps stopping only at one or two high-ridership stations north of uptown but stopping at all stops south of uptown, and the reverse (stopping at only a few stations south of uptown, but all stations north of uptown), to speed things up? 

Or has this already been considered and rejected?

A coworker of mine rides from Archdale to UNCC. I doubt there are many people riding from North to South since the park and ride lots make it awfully difficult to get anywhere once you arrive at a station South of New Bern. 

There are no passing tracks so express trains are nearly impossible to operationalize effectively. 

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2 hours ago, staffer said:

an annual parking permit for residents is $450.00. That works out to (with 32 academic weeks) about $2.80 per day.  Both $6.60 and $10 are WAY more than $2.80.  Of course students get unlimited light rail for $25 per semester so they pay nothing extra per day.  Seems to me the real problem with having free parking in the deck is that students could just leave the car there for the semester. 

But $4.40 (round-trip) is also more than $2.80 a day to park on campus. 

 

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4 hours ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

Not to mention, why tie into Amtrak, when that stations lifespan is MAYBE 5 years max

That connection will help connect Tryon Hills and Lockwood neighborhoods to light rail. It's a walk but that bridge will help. But true bout that Amtrak point, just thinking how it could help that area after Amtrak is gone. 

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That connection will help connect Tryon Hills and Lockwood neighborhoods to light rail. It's a walk but that bridge will help. But true bout that Amtrak point, just thinking how it could help that area after Amtrak is gone. 

Very fair point, thank you.


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The first enforcement of tickets that I have seen included northbound at Sugar Creek just as I was exiting last night 2 officers boarded. Then this morning southbound 2 got on at CTC. 

Its a pretty crapty method for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is because it feels like a shake down (because that’s basically what it is) when I am just trying to ride the train and then you have Law Enforcement Officers step on and basically interrogate everyone. It just feels gross. 

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7 minutes ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

The first enforcement of tickets that I have seen included northbound at Sugar Creek just as I was exiting last night 2 officers boarded. Then this morning southbound 2 got on at CTC. 

Its a pretty crapty method for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is because it feels like a shake down (because that’s basically what it is) when I am just trying to ride the train and then you have Law Enforcement Officers step on and basically interrogate everyone. It just feels gross. 

Besides the uniform, it's no different than ticket checking on any other train since before your grandma was born. 

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Not too familiar with other cities protocols on this (Gates vs Honor system) but read an article from a few years back talking about LA Country testing out gates as a trial run.  They did a gate-locking test on select gates and saw a 68% increase in ticket sales.  Not saying we should do this, but just curious to see how many cities do have gates vs dont and ticket sales correlation.  I do like the idea of gates but I think the real problem is that people have the perception that the fare inspectors never come, which is basically true.  Change the perception and I think the honor system can work, thus should see an increase in sales. 

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6 minutes ago, CharlotteWkndBuzz said:

Not too familiar with other cities protocols on this (Gates vs Honor system) but read an article from a few years back talking about LA Country testing out gates as a trial run.  They did a gate-locking test on select gates and saw a 68% increase in ticket sales.  Not saying we should do this, but just curious to see how many cities do have gates vs dont and ticket sales correlation.  I do like the idea of gates but I think the real problem is that people have the perception that the fare inspectors never come, which is basically true.  Change the perception and I think the honor system can work, thus should see an increase in sales. 

About 10 years ago while I was in college I went to LA and road the train to where I was staying from the nearest station to LAX.  At that time having only been to NYC where there are obvious gates I took my whole trip on multiple lines 45-60 min and didn't realize there was ticketing required because you could just walk right up.  Only until getting out at my stop did I see people buying tickets and realize it.  Whoops! 

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2 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

I have always thought we needed fare gates.  The fare checking is way too rare it seems and you couldn't get on a bus without paying. 

I would imagine most of the commuters to uptown have their monthly passes. They should have the income usually. As you pointed out, you need a ticket to get on a bus (and lots of people transfer at lots of stations). UNCC students get on free via their tuition. Maybe increased guards during holidays?

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I do wish that fare inspections were more common and visible -- they are certainly not frequent enough to discourage folks from 'gambling.'

Having said that, I think fare gates are a mistake for us. Currently our stations nicely blend into the urban environment, they are not imposing (look at MARTA for some of the worst examples of massive brutalism ever) and they allow for people to easily move from station to shop (potentially) if they discover the next train is 10 minutes away -- I am not proud of it, but I did  managed to down a pint of beer in the time between trains at Tank's Tap, something that would not have been possible with fare gates (it was a belchy ride home).  In addition, any barriers that would prevent people from jumping over are going to be very visually imposing and will likely constrain pedestrian / bike flow along the rail trail. 

A secondary problem is most of the Southend and uptown stations are at grade, since you can't really fence off the track area (trains still have to pass through), there is no effective way to fence off stations like Bland, Carson or 9th. Our best efforts would just be fare collection theater and/or just encourage people to trespass on the tracks. 

Finally there is also an issue of capital costs  I am not sure its worth the trouble. Decent fare inspection should certainly get evasion below 5%. At 20,000 riders per day this is roughly $1.6 million dollars of lost fares a year -- I doubt that would come close to paying the capital costs (or the maintenance costs) of fare barriers.  

We spend a bunch of time in this thread discussing fare evasion, but we spend zero time sweating people who park at meters without paying , nobody here has ever brought up the virtues of adding more meter maids. Why do we see those two things as different? 

Edited by kermit
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21 minutes ago, kermit said:

but we spend zero time sweating people who park at meters without paying

You must not cross paths with the damned skilled/quick "Park It" staff.  In my experience -- and I have plenty, Park It has been consistently on top of their duties -- hell this past Saturday we were witnessing some poor schmuck getting a ticket for thinking they could park in an unmarked space on Tryon -- that was at 8 pm!

All that to say, have you considered that the reason there is no discussion of meter maids (aka Park It) is because there isn't a problem with Park It? At least nowhere near the problem that everyone, but CATS, sees with fair evasion on the Lynx!

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