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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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Big problems this morning. I was on the 6:30am from 485. Around Archdale, we were notified there was a disabled car at Carson. When we got to East/West, we sat and waited 5 minutes. After crawling to Bland, we sat for 10 minutes, then were asked to get off the train, and we waited on the platform for another 5 minutes for the next northbound train. We all got on that one and headed north. We switched sides to the southbound tracks just before Carson. At Carson, there were 4 cars sitting there on the northbound tracks (the two original disabled plus the two we got off?). We then continued north on the southbound tracks. I got off at Stonewall at 7:17am instead of the normal approx 6:50am. What a logistical nightmare for the LYNX people to deal with.

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I feel like this has been brought up before, but I couldn't find any posts on it -

Can anyone think of any hotels near (read: walking distance) of blue line stops outside of uptown? There's a CNU Transportation conference here next month, and a friend of mine is coming in for it. I'm trying to help him find a cheaper hotel along the line, but the only one that comes to mind is the Four Points Sheraton across from Woodlawn.

Edit:

I just realized that if you go on the other side of the tracks at Woodlawn, there's a Best Western, Ramada, Days Inn and HoJo. If he doesn't like one of those he's SOL.

Edited by tozmervo

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They're not right on the line, but you could also recommend one of the cluster of hotels on Arrowwood just east of I77. The Arrowwood bus connects to the blue line. The negative is the connection, but on the positive side they're probably about the same price as the ones on Woodlawn, but are much newer and nicer.

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If your friend doesn't mind a 10-15 minute walk, there are also all the hotels at Westpark near the 77/Tyvola interchange. Along Griffith, .65 mi from the Tyvola Station, there is a Quality Inn, and .8 mi from the Tyvola Station (walking along Griffith), there is a Marriott and a Hilton.

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Does anyone know if it is LEGAL for a fare inspector to physically detain someone in order to write a citation?

I've seen a lot of inspector/no-ticket incidents in the last 3 weeks, so it got me wondering.

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I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that if you have done something illegal, the state has the ability to detain someone temporarily.

As for the year anniversary, it is hard to imagine it has only been a year since the transit repeal vote!

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I usually take the 3:37pm outbound, but Thursday I took the 3:00pm outbound and it was PACKED. According to the schedule they don't start 7.5 minute gaps until 3:30/3:37, but at Stonewall and Carson the conductor said "next train 7 minutes" for the people on the platform who were struggling to get on. Have they changed the schedule and failed to update their online schedule?

I'll also take the opportunity to say I wish it were 10 minute gaps during the day. I'd love to trip down the line to South End for lunch, but the 15 minute gaps are a deterrent.

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I'm home today for Veteran's day, and my buttons don't seem to be working on my remote... so I'm finding myself watching general daytime tv and commercials for the last twenty minutes. Anyway, there was a commercial for something like Life GPS (I couldn't rewind to see because again, my remote buttons don't work right now). It is basically shows a woman being nervous that a criminal is around the corner, so she calls the call center and says 'I'm at the South Blvd Parking Garage and [i feel unsafe]'. Then an aerial map displays the LRT garage on the call center rep's screen who then says something reassuring back to the scared lady. Then a professional looking man turns the corner and says hello and it is a happy ending.

I found the whole thing extremely intriguing. Firstly, who on earth buys a device to carry around just for these types of circumstances? Secondly, what on earth would that rep be able to do other than call 911, just like the lady could have done herself with a cell phone? Lastly, I am not sure how to interpret this as far as it relates to perceptions of the Light Rail. It is interesting that a company chose it as the one place in the city representative of a place where their target market would feel insecure. But it is also interesting that they chose to end the example as a false alarm with a professional person walking by in the end.

I'm sure I'm way overthinking a stupid commercial, but like I said, I thought it was intriguing and figured I'd share it with you guys.

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I rode Lynx today, and got back on at Stonewall for my southbound trip.

I just wanted to point out that the station is horribly marked. It says Trolley in large letter at the street level, and all signage in the Westin says Trolley. Nothing mentions Lynx/Light Rail/Blue Line that I could find. Also, give that the station is setback a bit from Stonewall, there is no visual clue that there is a station there to a pedestrian on the street.

I'm hoping that when the Crush nightclub site is finally redeveloped, a true elevator and staircase will be built on the east side of the LRT bridge over Stonewall. Also, I'd like to think the city will use whatever flabby muscle it has to force the developers of that site to allow direct access from the future development. This would be extremely easy to accomplish, as there is nothing more than an ~8" concrete half-wall separating the inbound side of the station from the property line.

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It seems to me that the developer would WANT such access not only for whoever buys in or leases within the development but also to draw in riders.

That site appears to be the only site along Stonewall that the developers still want despite the recession.

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I'm surprised no one has made any mention of this: Yesterday (Nov 24th) was the one year anniversary of the public opening of the light rail system. Tomorrow (Nov 26th) is the one year of the first day it was used for that Monday commute. Some overall data for the first year, which undoubtedly has been a HUGE success and one of the greatest 'game changers' for the city in recent time:

  • Total ridership exceeded 5 million riders
  • The estimated daily ridership (as they do not have the most recent months data compiled yet) is around 16,000 riders.
  • Speed Street was the event that brought the largest number of riders: 95k riders over 2.5 days
  • October ridership was 16,470
  • 4 vehicles on current order to help add to the system, as well as an additional 54 lot parking lot at 485 which opened last week

I hope that CATs will release an over analysis of graphs and data that will bring confirmation to this year. Interesting to see the trends and put some new estimates on the future lines.

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I guess I was just associating the anniversary with being the weekend after Thanksgiving. Ah well.

I must admit, I'm a little surprised that ridership has held up as well as it has (at least, anecdotally) given how the price of gas has collapsed. I'm interested to see if my perceptions are supported with the November ridership report.

Also - this past Sunday morning they tested a 6 minute headway schedule for a few hours. I wonder if we'll see it implemented during some upcoming rush hours.

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On the NE extension, it appears the city is budgeting money to route the corridor behind Asian Mall, to support its redevelopment and redevelopment of the stretch of N Tryon between Sugar Creek and Eastway. That $24.3m was not something CATS could include, but made sense as a City Economic Development project.

http://www.charmeck.org/NR/rdonlyres/eu4d5...pleteFY2009.pdf

To me, there probably would be more bang for the buck to just put that money into expanding capacity of the existing Blue line, but I suppose they feel like they can get that funded elsewhere.

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Some people are starting to get a knack for fare evasion. Yesterday on the 3:37 outbound, the fare inspector started his way up through the car after the 3rd street station. I saw two different (seemingly unrelated) people get up from their seats, walk towards the front of the car, get off at Stonewall, and stand there on the platform as we pulled away.

So that's the plan -- move to the front of the car ahead of the inspector, get off at the next stop, wait 7 minutes and get on the next train.

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Yeah if you really want to avoid paying the fare you can probably get away with it as long as there are a good amount of people on the train. I was riding this past Sunday at about 7pm and the train was only about 20% full and the inspector wrote out a $50 ticket for the lady sitting next me. First time I had seen the an inspector write a ticket.

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Oh well. I'm sure they write enough tickets to cover a lot of those people's fares. Also, if you don't like it, you should say something to them. Sometimes shaming people as they walk past helps.

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Oh well. I'm sure they write enough tickets to cover a lot of those people's fares. Also, if you don't like it, you should say something to them. Sometimes shaming people as they walk past helps.

Once I was afraid I was going to get a ticket. I'm not sure if this is breaking the rules, but I bought a round trip ticket at Stonewall, went down to East/West, and came back up to 7th St. At 7th I realized that my ticket probably was good to return to Stonewall only. Oops. I would've hated for a boneheaded mistake to cost me 50 bucks.

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I think those types of grey areas are probably fine. Considering that you actually paid for a round trip, I don't think the station uptown that you return from will be considered too strictly.

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Once I was afraid I was going to get a ticket. I'm not sure if this is breaking the rules, but I bought a round trip ticket at Stonewall, went down to East/West, and came back up to 7th St. At 7th I realized that my ticket probably was good to return to Stonewall only. Oops. I would've hated for a boneheaded mistake to cost me 50 bucks.

Your ticket is good for 90 minutes exempting the round trip fare, if you took less than that. Also, there isn't anything strictly saying your round trip fare must include getting off at the station you entered. You are fine (I did the same thing and was check once and they didn't even say anything to me about it).

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Some people are starting to get a knack for fare evasion. Yesterday on the 3:37 outbound, the fare inspector started his way up through the car after the 3rd street station. I saw two different (seemingly unrelated) people get up from their seats, walk towards the front of the car, get off at Stonewall, and stand there on the platform as we pulled away.

So that's the plan -- move to the front of the car ahead of the inspector, get off at the next stop, wait 7 minutes and get on the next train.

I'm sure there are people getting away with it, but the tickets given out far outweigh what money is lost from people riding for free. I've seen 2 tickets given out so far just this week, $100 would make up for 50 people riding for free. At some point, worrying about getting a ticket, and getting off early just to wait 7min (minimum) for the next train becomes more of a hassle then paying $1.50. Besides, at some point they will get caught, yesterday two CMPD officers jumped on my car and started checking tickets from both ends.

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economic times are tough, but it still amazes me that people still try to get away with not paying for something that costs less than a cup of joe. Then again, it's human nature. If these fare evaders try to get away without paying and get caught, they will get absolutely no simpathy from me. I'd rather not fall in their category of the "penny save and dollar foolish."

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CATS and The Observer have finally gotten around to admitting what I posted here months ago. There is no money to build the additional transit lines despite this promise being made by CATS, the city and the the downtown business interests during the campaign to save the tax. I contended that CATS needed to be held accountable to that promise given they were already spending far in excess of the amounts being generated by the tax. Else, without that accountability the tax should be repealed so that we could have it replaced by a sound plan that does build transit lines, because without it, there won't be money to build the rest of the transit system. That was met with a lot of derision.

Guess what, there is no money to build the additional transit lines. On the report above, CATS operational budget is now something like $112M/year despite the fact the transit tax is bringing in $70M. I am not sure what is so difficult about that math, but I don't know where people expected the hundreds of millions to come from, and I am not even talking about the federal and state matches.

So now we are hearing instead, "Obama's new spending plan is going to save all of this". Maybe, maybe not. I would vote in the not field. Charlotte will be getting in line with every other city in the country for this money and I don't see where there are many political favors left to lavish on the city. Right now the federal government is lavishing multiple tens of billions of dollars on the city's two biggest businesses and this will certainly be brought up as an issue by other more economically depressed places. Places that have a lot of political clout in DC vs Charlotte where our Mayor has none.

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