To boost flagging bus ridership, Charlotte Area Transit System is making big changes

The Charlotte Transportation Centeron Trade Street.
The Charlotte Transportation Centeron Trade Street. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

When’s the next bus coming?

For thousands of Charlotte’s daily commuters, the answer to that question changed Monday morning. The Charlotte Area Transit System, seeking to draw riders back with a more efficient route network and speedier trips, kicked off major schedule changes.

The new routes are meant to add more cross-town options and cut down on the number of trips that require riders to go all the way to the uptown transit center and change buses to ride back out to their final destination. Some two dozen bus routes have seen major changes, and 600 bus stops will either see service changed or discontinued.

Although the Blue Line light rail gets more headlines, bus service accounts for the majority of CATS’ ridership. Like many transit systems across the U.S., ridership on CATS buses has been declining in recent years. Through July, federal statistics show the number of trips on CATS’ regular scheduled bus service is down a total of 18 percent compared with a year ago.

You can see more details on CATS’ schedule changes at www.ridetransit.org, or by calling 704-336-RIDE (7433).

Portillo: 704-358-5041