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Construction cuts riders on Concord Express

By Karen Cimino Wilson
Independent Tribune

CONCORD Ridership on the Charlotte Area Transit System’s commuter line from Concord to uptown Charlotte, called the 80X Concord Express, has decreased over the past 12 months due to work on Interstate 85 in Cabarrus County, officials said.

CATS has been working with riders and Concord and Kannapolis officials to address concerns.

“The primary thing is to add more time to the schedule,” said L.J. Weslowski, Concord’s transit manager. “While ridership has dropped over the last 12 months … we do feel it’s worth considering continuing the service for another year.”

Concord City Manager Brian Hiatt said the 80X Concord Express is taking longer to complete its routes because of delays due to the widening of I-85 in Cabarrus County and the completion of the Interstate 485 loop and interchange with I-85 near the Cabarrus/Mecklenburg border.

“The traffic that’s on (U.S.) 29 as a result of I-85 has impacted the ability for people to get there on time,” Hiatt said. “Once 85 is complete, hopefully that will return to more normal. They’re eliminating stops in Mecklenburg to accommodate folks from Concord.”

The 80X Concord Express costs $3.50 for passengers and provides service from the Home Depot Park and Ride on Cloverleaf Parkway to the Charlotte Transportation Center in uptown Charlotte.

The service also has stops at Big Lots on U.S. 29 in Concord, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord Mills mall, Cheddar’s Cafe Park and Ride, Gateway on Trade Street, and Third and McDowell streets.

The service, which operates between 5:40 a.m. and 8:31 a.m. each morning and from 5:22 p.m. to 6:28 p.m. each evening Monday through Friday, does not pick up passengers between University Place and uptown Charlotte. It uses I-85 and Interstate 77 to get to uptown.

CATS also offers the 79X Concord Mills Express on Saturdays, but plans to terminate the service because it is not being used enough by Charlotte residents to justify the expense, city officials said.

“It makes more sense to terminate service than expend funds at this time,” Weslowski said.

The 79X service extended between the Charlotte Transportation Center in uptown Charlotte and Concord Mills.

It also had stops at the zMAX Dragway, University Place, and Gateway.

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