In another sign that high gas prices are pushing people to use public transportation, the Charlotte Area Transit System's main bus station Uptown recently sold out of local monthly passes for August.
CATS used to order 3,500 of the passes, but in February upped that to 5,000. Now, after this month's rush, the transit system plans to sell 7,500 starting in October.
Olaf Kinard, who heads marketing and communications for CATS, said he's never seen the system run short of passes in the 11 years he's worked there.
Transit users can still get local monthly passes for August – just not at the main bus station. There are 27 other locations throughout Mecklenburg that sell monthly passes, and the Charlotte Transportation Center in Uptown will sell riders four weekly passes instead of the monthly passes. Four weekly passes – at $13 each – cost the same as a monthly pass.
CATS said there may be pass shortages in September before the additional 2,500 local passes come online in October.
Fares are scheduled to jump in October, with a one-way ticket – good for both the train and bus – increasing from $1.30 to $1.50. Passes will also increase in price.
Much of the demand for the local passes is likely due to the Lynx Blue Line. Bus ridership is also up. Express routes that go into neighboring counties are up more than 17 percent in the past year.
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