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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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On 12/10/2019 at 10:48 AM, Hushpuppy321 said:

I’m not sure how many of you saw the WBTV report concerning increased Blue Line frequency during the ACC Championship Game.  They’re reporting that CATS increased frequency to run trains every 8-10 minutes during the lead up to the Game and afterwards.  

Anyone go to the game notice that?  Did CATS actually do something right?

I heard this too but then know someone who went to the game and said they waited about 20 min for the next train when one was too crowded to board.

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51 minutes ago, kermit said:

We were very lucky to have the blue line completely within the same municipality.

Why the Triangle has struggled with this as well. 

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Raleigh is implementing Bus Rapid Transit connecting to their Union Station for now and in the future transit center next door.  The truth is the Triangle area does have a very diffuse employment centers including RTP (about 50K) downtown Raleigh and Durham, Duke Univ and Med center, and even Cary is a big employment center in its own right.  UNC Chapel Hill is another big employment center.  Very unlike Charlotte which has a an urban core with 100,000 plus workers working in a dense core.  

Raleigh's BRT plans https://raleighnc.gov/business/content/PlanDev/Articles/TransPlan/BRT.html

Edited by KJHburg
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Are there cars out of service? Train in this morning was at crush capacity and every stop past Sugar Creek inbound had people left behind on the platform to wait on the next train. 
 

Now outbound the train is late and I’ve never seen so many people on the platform. 
 

edit: last update on CATS twitter was Dec 17 ??!!
 

No announcements on loudspeaker. People commenting “it was like this yesterday too”  

edit 2: northbound train just showed up on the southbound tracks ???!!!

#wtfcats

4E543C47-698D-4403-8FB0-C9360B51D3BA.jpeg

Edited by Matthew.Brendan
...
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3 hours ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

Are there cars out of service? Train in this morning was at crush capacity and every stop past Sugar Creek inbound had people left behind on the platform to wait on the next train. 
 

Now outbound the train is late and I’ve never seen so many people on the platform. 
 

edit: last update on CATS twitter was Dec 17 ??!!
 

No announcements on loudspeaker. People commenting “it was like this yesterday too”  

edit 2: northbound train just showed up on the southbound tracks ???!!!

#wtfcats

4E543C47-698D-4403-8FB0-C9360B51D3BA.jpeg

I was on the southbound platform at 5:20. First train finally got in 10 minutes after I was on the platform. No one at 3rd made it on board in the first car. The second train came in 15 minutes later, two people managed to get into door two of car one. Third car had room for two others to squeeze in. Finally managed to board the fourth train at about 6:05. It was still packed and every train was crawling into 3rd St. south and northbound. CATS does a terrible job engaging on social media. Unresponsive on Twitter, ignores SpokeHub and provides little to no customer service. Would more money help?

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12 hours ago, KJHburg said:

^^^ new leadership and accountability would help.  

 

Accountability to whom? The Mayor? Doesn't Charlotte have a "weak mayor" system? I clearly don't know enough about who CATS leadership is ultimately responsible to (or the workings of city government in general).

What can we do to affect change because this is clearly not acceptable for a city that is growing at the rate Charlotte is.

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Glad I missed that mess yesterday.  I rode the northbound from 3rd to Parkwood to walk to Birdsong at get some Honey Pie right at 3pm.  I was back on the southbound at 3:10 and was LITERALLY the only person in my car until we got into uptown.  The rest of the trip was thankfully uneventful.

There are generally announcements on the station loudspeakers when something is broken, although they can be hard to hear.  I agree that quick engagement on twitter (or something, anything) would at least leave customers a bit less disgruntled.  It seems simple, but I guess who's going to do it?  You're not going to pay somebody to sit there on twitter.  And anybody else is probably busy helping solve the problem.  I hope.

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Tried to get on a southbound train yesterday at 4:45 at Stonewall. There were announcements coming on about technical difficulties on trains at one of the center-city stops. Four trains in quick succession: single car came, packed. Then two-car, packed. Then a single car, packed. Then a two-car, packed. By this time it's 5pm and time for the normal rush hour packed trains, so I took a Lyft. Heard from people this morning the trains were packed until 6pm.

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Southbound into the city this morning was crush capacity with no room to onboard passengers at both 25th and Parkwood. 
 

What’s hilarious is that these were ghost stations just a few months ago. Now with only some number occupied of the hundreds and hundreds of apartments newly built and still more under construction within walking distance to these 2 stations the existing frequency for morning rush hour commute is clearly insufficient.

I do not ride the train every single day but I am now 3 for 3 over the past couple weeks for encountering the same overcrowding to the point of people not being able to even board. 

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CATS is missing out on a ton of revenue on the light rail. It is great to provide the service, but it would be even better to not leave good money on the table.

They need to rethink fare collection altogether, possibly to combine with the rest of the Blue Line platform expansions for 3 car trains.

 

P.S. know someone who used to live in Mint Hill would take the 40X - Lawyers Rd Express. He said, on average - he would pay 3 times out of 10 trips a week because the fare boxes in the bus were so janky! If the fare box is down, your ride is free.
So, he cancelled his monthly parking uptown and rode the bus for free and this went on for several years!

I know that this should be now rectified with the updated fare boxes, but this is just one example of how CATS doesn't give a $#!t about fiscal responsibility.

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6 hours ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

Southbound into the city this morning was crush capacity with no room to onboard passengers at both 25th and Parkwood. 
 

What’s hilarious is that these were ghost stations just a few months ago. Now with only some number occupied of the hundreds and hundreds of apartments newly built and still more under construction within walking distance to these 2 stations the existing frequency for morning rush hour commute is clearly insufficient.

I do not ride the train every single day but I am now 3 for 3 over the past couple weeks for encountering the same overcrowding to the point of people not being able to even board. 

What time of the morning was your commute?  Also - Do you think frequency can be increased to more than every 8 minutes during morning & evening rush hours?  I’m sure 3 car trains would also help relieve congestion.

4 hours ago, Scribe said:

CATS is missing out on a ton of revenue on the light rail. It is great to provide the service, but it would be even better to not leave good money on the table.

They need to rethink fare collection altogether, possibly to combine with the rest of the Blue Line platform expansions for 3 car trains.

 

P.S. know someone who used to live in Mint Hill would take the 40X - Lawyers Rd Express. He said, on average - he would pay 3 times out of 10 trips a week because the fare boxes in the bus were so janky! If the fare box is down, your ride is free.
So, he cancelled his monthly parking uptown and rode the bus for free and this went on for several years!

I know that this should be now rectified with the updated fare boxes, but this is just one example of how CATS doesn't give a $#!t about fiscal responsibility.

I wholeheartedly agree - when the BlueLine is retrofitted to 3 Car Train Platform lengths I would also encourage fareboxes and additional fencing.  Not fair that some pay and others don’t 

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I'm generally on the train somewhere between 7:45 - 8:15 am.

Having a 3rd car would definitely help. Unfortunately the plan to finish extending the original platforms to accommodate 3 cars was cut and afaik there are no current plans for that. Good job CATS.

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I’ve always wondered how CATS estimates the Average Daily Ridership of the LightRail System since there are no turnstiles or fareboxes.  Whatever they report quarterly I feel would be less than actual Ridership.

Still Its pretty impressive that CATS BlueLine is currently in the Top 20 Largest LightRail Systems in the US by Ridership.  Being in NC and the South in general, it’s amazing that Charlotte has accomplished what it has in the BlueLine and GoldLine = 20.8 Miles of Fixed Rail Transit.  

A 19 or 20 Mile SilverLine and additional 5 Miles of BlueLine would put Charlottes system at 42+ Miles in length possibly into the top 15 Largest Systems by Ridership in the 2035 timeframe or earlier based on how popular current Lightrail is.

Now Management of the System by CATS is another issue....

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