Transit commission asks city council to approve an investigation into CATS safety
The Metropolitan Transit Commission voted Wednesday night to ask the city council to approve a third-party investigation into the safety of Charlotte’s transit system.
The group that oversees Charlotte Area Transit System is taking a close look at a light rail derailment that was first reported last week.
RELATED: Charlotte mayor addresses CATS issues; MTC to discuss derailment
CATS officials said a defect caused one of the cars to go off the track in May 2022.
They said other cars also have that defect and until that issue can be fixed, the light rail will run at reduced speeds of 35 mph.
A member of the MTC, Mecklenburg County commissioner Leigh Altman, had said she wants a third-party investigation.
As a result, the commission passed a resolution that requests that a third party investigates CATS and how it handles derailments and other issues.
NCDOT: Delayed maintenance directly contributed to CATS derailment risk
Two light rail vehicles were recently fixed, which took a year to get done.
40 other light rail vehicles still need to go to California to be fixed.
Eight carts or trucks will be fixed at a time and another eight, with the highest mileage, will be taken out of service.
CATS interim CEO Brent Cagle said service won’t be interrupted.
With the problem affecting the entire fleet, all 40 light rail vehicles will be sent off.
8 sets of trucks at a time.
8 others will be taken out of service (those with highest mileage)
Interim CEO says this will not impact service. But service certainly cannot be increased
— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) March 22, 2023
A complete fix will take time.
The tentative schedule for the entire fleet to be repaired is January 2025 and will cost about $30 million, which is more than last week’s $24 million estimate.
There are also 37 elevated light rail bridges and six parking decks that are far past their inspections.
Nearly 100 buses, which is a third of the CATS fleet, are too old and need to be replaced soon.
Cagle, who took the leadership role before the problems happened, was applauded at Wednesday night’s meeting for his willingness to take on such a task.
Regardless of all the problems, Mayor Vi Lyles believes the light rail is still safe.
“I would certainly ride the light rail,” she said.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, Cagle also spoke about a culture at CATS that lacked transparency and didn’t welcome employees from speaking up when something was wrong.
Cagle said creating a better culture and work environment where employees feel welcome to come forward is one of his top priorities.
VIDEO: NCDOT: Delayed maintenance directly contributed to CATS derailment risk