you're reading...

Cornelius News

Sneaky CATS: Bus downgrade caught local officials by surprise

March 11. By Dave Vieser. An unannounced transition to smaller buses on a popular Cornelius to Charlotte express bus route caught town leaders by surprise, according to comments at their March 4 Town Board Meeting.

“We did not receive any advance information about the change of equipment on the express bus route,” said Town Manager Andrew Grant.

Operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), express route 77X was using larger motor coaches for most runs, but during the last two weeks in February, smaller equipment was used on several occasions, leaving some passengers behind and others unhappy.

CATS officials first suggested it was a temporary equipment substitution. But they changed their story later, explaining that the larger buses had been “decommissioned” due to their age and mileage.

“The new norm for 77x will be some runs—not all but some—handled by the smaller buses,” said Bowen Wakefield from the CATS Quality Control division. “At other times passengers will ride on MCI Express Buses or electric-powered vehicles. But there is no question that the decommissioned buses were more spacious and comfortable with a larger capacity than the local buses.”

Commissioner Scott Higgins, who raised the issue, said, “I just know there are a number of people who use those express buses and they are kind of concerned about the change.”

Mayor Woody Washam said “we need to stay on top of CATS…they remain challenging for sure.”