Monday March 22, 2010 | CATS Update Amid Budget Troubles

March 19, 2010 at 9:15 am | Posted in Coming Up | 4 Comments

Like most city/county services, money is tight for the Charlotte Area Transit System. The organization recently announced the possibility of a $0.25 fare increase, which some on the Mecklenburg Transit Commission say is too much, even though the system is facing a budget shortfall of several million dollars. We’ll meet the new CEO of CATS, Carolyn Flowers and we’ll also be joined by Mecklenburg Transit Commission member and County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts to talk about the budget troubles at CATS and how the organization plans to keep up with its ambitious plans for growth in an economic downturn.
Carolyn Flowers
– CEO and Director, CATS Public Transit
Jennifer Roberts – Chair, Board of Mecklenburg County Commissioners and member, Mecklenburg Transit Commission

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  1. I don’t understand why the City of Charlotte didn’t hire a native Charlottean for the CEO/Director position of CATS.

    What is the point of hiring someone from almost 3,000 miles away when there were surely enough qualified people here for the job? Why wasn’t a local who is more familiar with the transportation needs, history, geography, and economic profile of the area hired instead?

  2. I am Eric Delmelle, assistant professor of Geography at UNCC with interest in public transit optimization. Interestingly, there were 3662 bus stops in Charlotte in 2008, some with or without shelters. Surprisingly, too many of them are so close to one another that the system seems very redundant. A quick ride along route 11 or 39 on North Tryon and you realize that stops are separated by less than 150 meters. Decreasing redundancy increases efficiency since it takes less time to get from A to B.

    By the way, along the blue line (Lynx) it has empirically been proved that people who live close to the line have seen their house value increases

    So it seems that efficient transit is desirable….

  3. Eric: I have also wondered why the bus stops seem really close together (especially when I am on the bus and it keeps stopping during the ride). But perhaps it is because people don’t necessarily live right next to the bus stop, but have to walk a significant distance from their home deep within a neighborhood to get to the bus stop. Adding another 150m to that walk may cause the bus to be even more inconvenient for them. So while one may only be considering the 150m between the stops as not that great a distance, one has to consider the total distance the rider has to walk from their home.

    On another note, a friend of mine recently rode 4 different buses. On each bus, when he went to pay, the bus driver stopped him and waved him through, while the riders behind her had to pay. (He wasn’t using a transfer either). While it was good for my friend, (and he wasn’t sure why it happened) letting people ride free might not be the best when the CATS system is struggling for money.

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