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 The Truth About Transit

The Truth about Transit - CATS Citizens and leaders in Charlotte and across the country are flooded with misinformation about the costs and impacts of transit. From myths that transit doesn't lighten the load on roads to the myth that ridership numbers never meet projections. Don't let yourself fall victim to rampant misinformation

TRUTH: Investing in roads alone or transit alone won't solve any region's growing traffic congestion problem. However, a balanced approach of roads and transit, especially rail transit, will allow commuters to avoid stop-and-go congestion and make travel time consistent for decades.

MYTH: Transit doesn't solve traffic congestion

MYTH: Light rail initial ridership projections are inflated.

TRUTH: Actual results from light rail lines opened in the past 10-15 years show that ridership exceeds projections.

MYTH: Charlotte's $7 billion transit plan is enought to buy a new car for every household in Mecklenburg County.

TRUTH: Over it's 25+ year horizon, the Transit Plan includes capital, operating, regular maintenance and replacement costs for CATS public transit system. Personal vehicles are replaced on average every 7-10 years, so it would cost over $24 billion dollars to provide everyone with multiple new cars over the next 25 years. Meanwhile, the existing road network would become more polluted and more congested with longer travel times.

MYTH: CATS' expenses are higher than other transit systems.

TRUTH: CATS' costs are below the national average for modes of service it operates. The latest information available on costs for the transit industry (2011) shows that CATS' operating costs (per revenue miles, per passenger miles and per passenger trips) are below industry averages.

MYTH: Charlotte's light rail carries fewer people than a lan of I-77.

TRUTH: In Charlotte, one lane of I-77 can move 2,000 vehicles or 2,200 people per hour (at an average of 1.1 occupants per vehicle).

The LYNX Blue Line operates two-car trains per hour at 10-minute headways for six one-way trips per hour. Each train-car can transport 260 persons per trip, totaling 3,120 people per hour during peak periods. The LYNX line can increase frequency to 7.5 minute headways, with eight trips per hour, carrying a total of 4,160 people per hour, or 89 percent more people than a lane of I-77. When the LYNX line is expanded to handle three-car trains at 7.5 minute headways, the line could transport 6,240 people per hour. That's 2.8 times more people than a lane of I-77 can carry.

The Truth about Transit - CATS Advantage

TRUTH: More than 17 percent of weekday commuter trips to Charlotte's Center City are provided by public transit. The 2 to 3 percent number is misleading because it uses all of the population in a region and counts commercial and non-commute trips made by delivery trucks, service vehicles and salespeople, as well as travel to sporting games, etc. Transit doesn't claim to compete for every trip or every commute trip in a region. CATS does compete for commute trips in specific transportation corridors, and in some corridors it attracts up to 17 percent of commute trips into major employment zones.

TRUTH: In regions with both rail and bus options, there are fewer vehicle miles traveled per capita than in bus only or limited transit cities.

The Truth about Transit - CATS Advantage

The Truth about Transit - CATS Advantage

Response: Light rail typically offers a congestion-free commute with consistent travel times, so it attracts a very diverse customer base. Over the past decade, cities that have added light rail service to their existing bus systems have experienced significant increases in new customers. Light rail has proved to appeal to people who previously drove alone and former bus riders who like rail transit�s speed.

The Truth about Transit - CATS Advantage

Response: The South Corridor adjacent to the LYNX Light Rail line experienced explosive growth throughout the line�s construction and as light rail service opened. The growth of new development will have increased property tax receipts from $6 million in 2003 to over $16 million in 2015, the year current development projects will be completed. These increased tax receipts support police, schools, roads, fire and other non-transit related projects.