Ridership ahead of schedule

Charlotte's Lynx Blue Line averaged 16,479 weekday trips in June – the most ever for the train, and a sign that the light-rail line could reach its 2025 ridership goal in a year or two.

The Charlotte Area Transit System projected the train would average 9,100 weekday trips in its first year, and 18,100 trips by 2025. But high gas prices and enthusiasm for the train has CATS scrambling to accommodate riders.

CATS recently ordered four new train cars to increase capacity, and is studying ways to add more parking at the Interstate 485/South Boulevard station, whose 1,120-space deck usually fills up by 8:15 a.m. CATS recently started using flashing signs on South Boulevard that alert drivers when the deck is full. They can drive farther north to find parking at other stations.

Since the train opened, it has averaged 14,147 weekday trips. A trip counts as a one-way ride on the train.

The Lynx averaged 16,239 weekday trips in May and 12,689 weekday trips in April.

CATS has projected that ridership would decrease slightly in the summer as people take vacations, but $4-a-gallon gas has so far offset any decreases.

Bus ridership in the last year has increased 3.4 percent, from 19.12 million trips to 19.77 million trips. That includes local and express bus routes, community circulators and the free Gold Rush service uptown.

The LYNX ridership includes some riders on the Charlotte Trolley.