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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


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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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I don't see any correlation to loss of ridership on any bus unless it is a bus that runs on or near this route or somehow connects to it.

You said it better than I did. That is what I meant to say. There were some routes that were eliminated or modified when Lynx started up and those routes have lost ridership to Lynx. In the long run their ridership will likely go back on the rise and people get used to the new setup....In fact if you look at the May 2008 numbers Bus Ridership is up 2.6%...so I think that has already stated happening.

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What is an acceptable efficiency threshold?

On the other hand, 59 [scaleybark/Marsh] and 36 [Midtown] seem to be struggling to find ridership - though to be fair both are very new, starting up when the Lynx did. While I occasionally use 36 to go to Midtown and have used 59 to get to Park Road Shopping Center, the primary function of both routes seems to be getting people to Lynx stations.

I don't think its the newness of the routes so much as it is that these routes are designed to connect to the LRT while the majority of routes on the CATS system are designed around the hub and spoke system. These feeder routes are probably not going to be as heavily used as those that connect to uptown.

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On the other hand, 59 [scaleybark/Marsh] and 36 [Midtown] seem to be struggling to find ridership - though to be fair both are very new, starting up when the Lynx did. While I occasionally use 36 to go to Midtown and have used 59 to get to Park Road Shopping Center, the primary function of both routes seems to be getting people to Lynx stations.

You just listed some of the worst performing Routes in the CATS systems...To add to your list #60 Tyvola. These are all new crosstown routes that CATS started when Lynx started up. Things might have changed from the Route Performance Report that came out in Feb...but I think these are routes that CATS is going to have to develop over time.

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One more time, try reading what I have posted.

Well so far all you done is posted about one month....yet when you look at the whole year Bus Ridership is up....and it is trending up, not down. So I really don't see what your concerns are about....unless you just want to focus on March 2008 Bus Ridership and ignore everything else.

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Well so far all you done is posted about one month....yet when you look at the whole year Bus Ridership is up....and it is trending up, not down. So I really don't see what your concerns are about....unless you just want to focus on March 2008 Bus Ridership and ignore everything else.

My question is this. Is the ridership gain they posted is sufficient considering the amount of money being spent? They have a 1/2 billion dollar light rail line plus $100+ million more a year flowing into that organization. So the question remains, what ridership should they have given that kind of investment? These are not hard questions to understand, but I do note they never get addressed because it is so difficult to even ask the question. The above dialog is proof enough of that.

And yes I do find it disturbing they saw a loss of passengers in the bus service this year. Yet not one word from them on that. This is CATS modus operandi for reporting results directly to the news organizations.

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Pretty much 99% of people here and the vast majority of the general public realize CATS provides a valuable service and is performing well, and the only reason bus ridership may be off slightly is due the replacement of some routes by Lynx LRT, as one would expect with a major transit investment. Overall ridership is way up, including nearly 17k on LRT, and development is occuring in South End, which will in turn, fuel even more riders to the system. Most people who complain about the system are demanding (a) more/quicker bus routes, and (b) implentation of the 2030 plan ASAP... NOT that transit is a waste of money.

As an aside, high fuel costs present a catch-22. While gas prices send people looking for a ride on CATS, those same costs create upward pressure on bus operations. Also, with the economy struggling, CATS will continue have to deal with a potentially lackluster sales tax, creating financial pressure for higher farebox revenue and potentially having to eliminate routes to remain within budget. Overall, I would expect a continual increase in bus ridership, but it's not as simple as gas $ increase = bus ridership increase.

Also, FWIW, the FTA is the agency that oversees federal support of transit operating and capital programs, and I have heard from at least two FTA officials who have told me that they are impressed with CATS operations and think very highly of the 2030 plan... not to mention the FTA best practices award that CATS was recently given. Also, the spring visits by the Raleigh and Atlanta delegations should be evidence that things are going pretty well with respect to peer regional metros. Sometimes you can't see the forest from the trees.

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Yeah with a system as large as CATS there is always going to be something to complain about. A bus that is empty. A bus that is overcrowded...etc etc.

But I think when you look at the big picture CATS is doing an above average job of building a transit system in our county.

Doesnt mean that hard questions need to be asked, they always do. There are real problems that need to be fixed with CATS...and I think they are going to take more than instant analysis of one data point on here to fix them.

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.....

Doesnt mean that hard questions need to be asked, they always do. There are real problems that need to be fixed with CATS...and I think they are going to take more than instant analysis of one data point on here to fix them.

So when is it a hard question and when is it "complaining" as you put it. I think measuring their ridership numbers against money spent is a worthy and hard question. If you disagree that is certainly fine, but IMO, I don't think they should be given a bunch of free passes. This is what led to the transit repeal in the first place.

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^ That is something CATS looks at all the time. I think I have posted this about 10 times now, but they put out a Route Performance Report that looks at exactly that. Ridership vs. Money Spent. Go check out the report. I think it will give you something more concrete to talk about.

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I do find it disturbing they saw a loss of passengers in the bus service this year. Yet not one word from them on that.

Can't that be explained by some people who are riding the train used to ride the bus? What am I missing here?

ObligatoryNearlyOnTopic: I got smacked in the face with an umbrella on the LYNX today when a lady took one step onto the wet train and went down in a heap. Then a stop later, a (seemingly) drunk guy got on and "made conversation" with nobody in general, though he sat down right next to one poor lady even though there were empty seats. It was awkward and unsettling, but is there anything you can do?

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ObligatoryNearlyOnTopic: I got smacked in the face with an umbrella on the LYNX today when a lady took one step onto the wet train and went down in a heap. Then a stop later, a (seemingly) drunk guy got on and "made conversation" with nobody in general, though he sat down right next to one poor lady even though there were empty seats. It was awkward and unsettling, but is there anything you can do?

Welcome to mass transit! At times it can be uncomfortable, at others quite entertaining.

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At risk of moving farther from the topic, I find the trolley numbers quite sad. It is great that we have a real transit system now rather than a nostaligic museum piece, but it is sad to see it so irrelevant at this point.

I'll stay out of the ridership debate overall, but the ridership on the rails is in a whole different league from ridership on the bus system, and it is great to see that high number. You can just imagine the impact when similar lines are built in other corridors over the coming decade, as well as organic growth on the South line as new TOD comes online.

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The trolley number is pathetic...again, to reiterate the idea of running it down Elizabeth and Trade in the short term while the streetcar plan is developed. It could even replace the gold rusher bus route on Trade.

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I drive by the Scaleybark Station everyday and have so for the past number of years. It seems like the number of people satnding on the platform grows monthly. and w/o much development in immediate area yet much of teh growth has to be organic. This and the diversity of the crowd waiting has been quite encouraging. Although not there yet, it brings back memories of living along NJ Transit Midtown Direct Line.

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Are the trolleys still operated by volunteers? If not, someone is going to figure out soon that it is not cost effective to run them as they are now. I would prefer they have a permanent trolley-only line that is not comprised of "modern" vehicles.
Originally the trolley was operated by volunteers. This was back in the days when it operated just between South End and 277, when it pulled its own electrical generator. However it later became the responsibility of CATS and is now funded and operated by that organization.
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Originally the trolley was operated by volunteers. This was back in the days when it operated just between South End and 277, when it pulled its own electrical generator. However it later became the responsibility of CATS and is now funded and operated by that organization.

I've only ridden it once since it started operating again. I think it is worth preserving but really is only worth operating on the weekend (and maybe some holidays).

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CATS now funds and operates the trolleys, and the only trolleys that are running are built in the 21st century. Other than the fact that the capacity would be different because of interiors and overall size, can someone explain to me why they can't just join two or three trolleys and program them in with the light rail vehicles and run the trolleys all the way down to 485? They are busting for capacity, and meanwhile have 3 modern vehicles with an 88 person capacity that can run on those wires and those tracks that just sit around during rush hour!

It is all well and good to dream about running those on Elizabeth Ave, but frankly, that runs the risk of creating yet another expensive pilot project that ends up complicating the final project when it gets built. Let's face that we have these vehicles and start using them to pump up capacity, not simply tuck away into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Maybe the maximum speed is too low to run all the way down to 485. Why not run them all day in the Tremont to 9th section to increase frequency and capacity to SouthEnd like it was originally intended?

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