Ridership on Charlotte's light rail was steady in October, with the train averaging 16,470 weekday trips.
Charlotte Area Transit System chief executive Keith Parker was concerned ridership might decline after one-way fares rose from $1.30 to $1.50 in early October. Gas prices also started to fall last month, and Parker said he was concerned some commuters might leave transit for their cars.
“I expected some softening,” Parker said. “So far it hasn't happened.”
The Lynx Blue Line was expected to average 9,100 weekday trips in its first year, and is projected to carry 18,100 trips by 2025.
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The train had strong weekend ridership, boosted by traffic for three Carolina Panthers games uptown. The train averaged 11,404 trips on Sundays and 12,761 on Saturdays.
Parker said October was the Lynx's highest total ridership, with 475,000 trips.
Local and express bus service was up 13 percent compared with the same month in 2007. Regional express routes – which go outside Mecklenburg – were up 37 percent.
CATS handled 9.365 million passenger trips in October, a 39percent increase over October 2007.
While ridership is growing, the CATS budget is struggling. Revenue from the half-cent sales tax is lower this year than projected, which could cost the transit system roughly $5 million.
Parker has said he doesn't want to raise fares again in 2008, but the system might make some service cuts.