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Alternative bus station for DNC rises uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The city’s makeshift transportation center springs up this week at the corner of West Third and South Mint streets, ready for the Democratic National Convention.

The Charlotte Area Transit System setup was in pieces Monday, with the tent for riders still on the ground.

But visit the site Thursday, and “you’ll see a pretty complete setup,” said CATS director of support services John Trunk.

The makeshift center will include customer service trailers, asphalt pathways, ground leveling, a flooring system, 10 picnic tables and handicapped-accessible restrooms. A 40- by 80-foot tent with wood floors, tables and air conditioning will serve as a place “for riders to rest and relax,” Trunk said.

Lights will illuminate the center at night, and surveillance cameras will add security.

“Everything that a transit rider has come to expect from CATS, they’ll experience here during the DNC,” Trunk said.

The center will operate Labor Day through Wednesday of convention week. After that, operations move back to the permanent center on Trade Street.

When CATS moves out, the setup will remain as a safety command post for the Charlotte Fire Department on Thursday when the President Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium.

Buses will load and unload at Third and Mint, with some backup buses parked nearby to prepare for overloads or delays. Ambassadors at the center will guide riders and answer questions.

Trunk said all equipment is either rented from or donated by city organizations. Expenses are covered by the federal security grant for the DNC.

“So there’s no expense here for CATS,” he said.

McNeill: 704-358-5298
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