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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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3 hours ago, kermit said:

Not exactly. the Gold Line is the only line where you can purchase your fare on board (there will be no fare machines on Gold Line platforms). 

The Blue Line will have fare validators (a place to tap your smart card where it will deduct your fare or check your pass), but you cannot purchase your fare on board. (well technically you can purchase your fare with the online app but that is slightly bending the rules). 

Onboard fare payment really only works well when you have a very small number of people boarding at each station. There is no way for a post-game CTC station full of riders to all purchase fares on board before the end of a ride. 

Except most people will have purchased fare already on their phone, etc. Despite limitations and limited rollout, they've converted a substantial amount of users to mobile ticketing already.

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For the magnetic monthly pass. This is still very inconvenient. Imaging rush hour on CTC when everyone tries to swipe.

The other thing is the contactless mean smart card not the contactless credit/debit card like the system NYC subway is rolling out?

 If they support the latter, it will be most efficient way for one time riders.

3 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

Except most people will have purchased fare already on their phone, etc. Despite limitations and limited rollout, they've converted a substantial amount of users to mobile ticketing already.

For mobile ticketing, they just need to have the ticket ready before boarding the train. The system supports bar-code and implementing a bar-code in App is very easy,

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As someone who always pays I still think we either need gates or better yet  free. I've seen tickets checked on maybe 2% of the rides and people without fare either allowed to get off or given a warning. Why bother with all this? I know some people don't have a smart phone but they can get paper tickets at the platform. What does this improve exactly?

I think the phone app is fine for payments. It really sucks there is no real time schedule nor more frequent service. That's where I would put my investment dollars.

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I usually use the CATS Pass App anyway. If you’re in a hurry, just pull out your phone and buy it on the app as you board.  (Not to be confused with the absolutely awful RideCATS app with the schedules, etc.) Google Maps is much easier to use for schedules.  It would be nice if they had a GPS device in every train and bus so that you could track them in real time like a rideshare.

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^Just buy it when you're seated if running late. It's really an ethics thing given the lack of enforcement and penalties. I often don't get around to paying until almost there.

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7 hours ago, King of the Queen City said:

It would be nice if they had a GPS device in every train and bus

As I understand it, CATS does have location tracking on all their vehicles. I'm not clear why they don't open up the data to outside developers? Reasons I've been given in the past, "CATS is going to have an app to do it" (haha), "CATS can't control the quality of a third-party app." (even heartier haha given the lack of usefulness and usability of the Ride CATS app). One person even had the audacity to indicate publishing the data would be a security issue which led me to double and triple-taking on their response. I think it's just a lack of care for the transit riders in the city, a lack of vision on the part of the CATS board, the MTC and John Lewis and an attitude of you'll take our vehicles when we get them to you.

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22 hours ago, elrodvt said:

What does this improve exactly?

  • Easier transfers (and much better data on where people begin and end their rides since transfers can be linked in the data set). Enabling folks who rode into town on a bus or the blue line to hop on the Gold Line any time that day makes it much more palatable (although these transfers are impossible w crappy frequencies)
  • stored value cards so riders don’t need to purchase a fare each trip (only useful for non pass holders). It is also a trivial task to get contactless debt cards to work in place of a ‘CATS pass’ as well. Also reduces (but doesn't eliminate CATS expenditures on paper ticket stock and pulling cash from fare boxes)
  • It allows for daily/weekly/monthly fare capping. Once you have tapped in to pay for two rides the stored value card could stop charging you that day. If you tap in for more than $88 of fare a month it stops charging you for the remainder of the month. This is a super big deal for folks who could not afford the cost of a weekly / monthly pass up front and for folks who are not sure how many trips they will take that month. I would bet that an express bus fare would probably cover any other CATS rides that day, for example.

^ all of this stuff might just give you merely a ‘gee wizz’ reaction, but it becomes MUCH more important to have  when you start to have a regional transit system. Its a system that is in use in many places (Seattle is probably the system most similar to ours that uses it) and it does work well.  

The peak hour crush to tap should not be too bad, not only will readers be at every door but you should be able to tap on the platform before boarding as well. Once people get used to it, it becomes painless. 

Edited by kermit
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^Still given their limited resources would this have been better spent on real time tracking NOW and this later on when needed (per your post)? They don't presently cap fares do they? if so, that's great.

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Sh!t show on the northbound leaving work today @ 4:30. Train was standing doors open at 3rd, all cars slammed packed. Waited for 10 minutes after boarding before it slowly crawled thru CTC and 7th. Stopped again at 9th now 5 minutes and counting. 

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31 minutes ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

Sh!t show on the northbound leaving work today @ 4:30. Train was standing doors open at 3rd, all cars slammed packed. Waited for 10 minutes after boarding before it slowly crawled thru CTC and 7th. Stopped again at 9th now 5 minutes and counting. 

Trains sitting in the station southbound at 3rd, CTC/Arena and 9th from what I can see. All trains packed. No useful communication from CATS. This is no way to run a railroad.

Screenshot_20190610-172222_Twitter.jpg

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5 minutes ago, Durhamite said:

Again, not making excuses for CATs however I was a commuter on DC metro for years  (rush hour and lived at the end of the Orange, Red and Blue lines from downtown).    The stories I could tell would blow your mind. Try being stuck in some of those tunnels for 5, 10, 20 minutes and inch worming during single tracking.  Or everybody getting booted off the train for overcrowding (conductor could not close the doors, train will not move) then, the train operator closes the door and hauls ass during peak summer (I'm in a suit pn the platform sweating like the third day of boot camp).    II could go on and on...In my personal experiences, public transit is a choice, not necessarily a convenience.  I think some of y'all are cherry picking instances that all too common across the board with many rail transit systems.  Meaning most times it works fine (or ok enough) if you accept the premise that Murphy's Law is in full effect at all times.

I didn't even ride the metro that much when I lived in DC, but I had many instances where it had issues. That system is a mess.

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The official twitter didn't note any disruptions between June 2 and 9th but other than that there appear to be daily disruptions over this quick sample of the official word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did my best not to double count anything. We all know that there are lots of service disruptions that don't make it to the official tweeter.

 

 

 

Edited by kermit
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The 3:30 southbound train leaving 3rd st was crush loaded and  about 100 people were left on platform.

3:30?

Whats it gonna take for increased frequency?

Edited by kermit
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Train randomly decides it’s out of service at Parkwood and kicks everyone off. 

Top notch service CATS. 

F9BCAA08-4A5A-4937-AE54-73E2E817DC74.jpeg

Update: 12 minutes later next train shows up itself already packed to the gills and now a platform full of people need to squeeze on. 

Half tried to get on, a quarter stayed on the platform and the other quarter have walked off / called Uber etc. 

 

Update 2: I got on the next train to come, it went down 1 stop to 25th and it’s been stopped there for a full 30 minutes now. 

#amateur hour

Edited by Matthew.Brendan
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Train randomly decides it’s out of service at Parkwood and kicks everyone off. 
Top notch service CATS. 
F9BCAA08-4A5A-4937-AE54-73E2E817DC74.thumb.jpeg.c10e99d6fec47bf46367fd14cfc03238.jpeg
Update: 12 minutes later next train shows up itself already packed to the gills and now a platform full of people need to squeeze on. 
Half tried to get on, a quarter stayed on the platform and the other quarter have walked off / called Uber etc. 
 
Update 2: I got on the next train to come, it went down 1 stop to 25th and it’s been stopped there for a full 30 minutes now. 
#amateur hour
CATS is the worst.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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30 minutes ago, XRZ.ME said:

So how many people can one train actually handle?

depends on configuration but figure about 225 people per vehicle (so 450 per train in the typical CATS configuration)

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Incredible. Who is there to hold accountable for this mess that is the Blue Line? It’s so frustrating and part of that is my inability to determine who to even blame or go to to register my disappointment and unwillingness to support future expansion of improvements are not made. 

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Is this thread supposed to encourage us to tax ourselves more to build more of this operation?

Edited by CLT2014
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3 hours ago, Brendv7 said:

Incredible. Who is there to hold accountable for this mess that is the Blue Line? It’s so frustrating and part of that is my inability to determine who to even blame or go to to register my disappointment and unwillingness to support future expansion of improvements are not made. 

Don't reach out to CATS customer service. They don't respond. I sent mail two weeks ago. Neither my city council member nor any of the at-large council members responded. Only mayor pro-tem Eiselt responded. CATS wants to shame their customers at every turn.

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Its not just rail operations that are messed up at CATS. I sent an email asking where I could find the last two FTA quarterly meeting agendas since they have not been posted at Charmeck.org as all previous versions have been.

Instead of just sending me a url (I know the documents are there somewhere), they told me to submit a public records request.  Gezzus

#WorkSmarterNotHarder

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