CATS increases express bus frequency as more in Charlotte resume commuting to offices

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As more people return to uptown and ridership levels steadily return closer to normal, the Charlotte Area Transit System has increased express bus frequency to accommodate increasing demand from commuters.

The schedule change started Monday, part of the transit agency’s “return to work strategy,” according to a news release. CATS had reduced its express service to minimal operating levels during the pandemic.

CATS is making the changes because many employers are accelerating plans for employees to return to work, CEO John Lewis said in the release. Last week, the Observer reported that major employees were targeting a full-fledged return to the office for fully vaccinated employees this fall, while implementing hybrid options for workers.

Last month, CATS increased the frequency of several bus routes to all-day, 20-minute frequency during weekdays. The adjustment was part of the Envision My Ride initiative, which CATS implemented in March 2018. The initiative seeks to redesign the bus system, including adding the number of buses operated on all-day consistent frequency. Riders preferred improved frequency to transitional timetables, Lewis said in the release.

New Express Bus Schedule

All express bus routes stop at the Charlotte Transportation Center in uptown. Express bus routes do not run during weekends.

One morning and one evening trip will be added to the following routes:

Route 40X Lawyers Road: The route runs between Lawyers Road & N.C. 51 and Johnson & Wales Way near uptown. It has three morning outbound trips and evening inbound trips, respectively, at around one-hour frequency. It also operates one morning inbound trip.

Route 46X Harrisburg Road: The route runs between Cambridge Commons Park in east Charlotte and Ride and Johnson & Wales Way. It has three morning outbound trips and evening inbound trips, respectively, at around one-hour frequency.

Route 52X Idlewild Road Express: The route runs between Margaret Wallace and Johnson & Wales Way. It has three morning outbound trips and evening inbound trips, respectively, at around 40-minute frequency.

Route 62X Rea Road: The route runs between the Park and Ride at St. Matthew Catholic Church in south Charlotte and Johnson & Wales Way. It has three morning outbound trips and evening inbound trips, respectively, at 40-minute frequency. It also operates one evening inbound and morning outbound trip.

Two morning and two evening trips will be added to the following express route:

Route 53X Northlake: The route runs four morning outbound trips from the Ridge Road Park and Ride to 3rd & McDowell streets, and four evening inbound trips from 4th & McDowell to Ridge Road Park.

The following routes will have 20-minute frequency for morning and evening peak services:

Route 48X Northcross: The morning outbound trips from the Northcross Park and Ride to 3rd & McDowell streets run from 5:57am to 8:36 a.m., while the evening inbound trips from 4th & McDowell to Northcross Park and Ride run from 3:50 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. This route also operates two evening outbound trips and two morning inbound trips on a one-hour frequency.

Route 63X Huntersville: The morning outbound trips from Huntersville-Gateway Park and Ride to 3rd & McDowell streets run from 6:04 a.m. to 8:38 a.m., while the evening inbound trips from Charlotte Transportation Center to Huntersville-Gateway Park and Ride run from 3:40 p.m. to 6 p.m. This route also operates two evening outbound trips and two morning inbound trips on a one-hour frequency.

Route 77X North Mecklenburg: The morning outbound trips from Davidson-Gateway Park and Ride to 3rd & McDowell run from 5:46 a.m. to 8:22 a.m. The evening inbound trips from 4th & McDowell to Davidson-Gateway Park and Ride run from 4 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. This route also operates two evening outbound trips and two morning inbound trips on a one-hour frequency.

In addition, Route 64X Independence Blvd that runs between Matthews-Independence Pointe Park and Ride and Johnson & Wales Way will operate at improved frequency. The five morning outbound trips operate from 6:15am to 8:20am, and the four evening inbound trips operate from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The route also operates one evening outbound trip.

The fare for an express bus is $3 for adults. The fare for riders over 62, people with disabilities, and students is $1.50. Children under 5 can ride for free with an adult companion.

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