Come June, local residents will be able to hop on a bus in Matthews bound for Pineville’s Carolina Place Mall.
The new Charlotte Area Transit System route, Route 52, will begin June 3 and will run Monday through Saturday with about 10 stops each way, beginning at Matthews’ Park and Ride, 9614 Independence Pointe Pkwy. Stop locations have not been selected yet because officials are in the midst of public meetings to gauge input on the idea, among other changes coming to CATS, Pamela White, who works with CATS, said.
CATS decided to open the new route after seeing a need for the addition in their five-year, county-wide transit service plan and after hearing requests from riders for a direct route to the mall. Using current routes, passengers must travel to the uptown transit center before traveling to Pineville – a trip which takes more than an hour.
“It’s a combination of several things. One is requests from our passengers and residents who are in that area between Matthews and the mall for additional services, for a service that would allow them to travel along 51,” White said.
The list of stops for the new route will be finalized in the coming months, but the availability of stop locations are limited, White said.
“We are still working through that. Because of the public meeting(s) we have gotten a request to look at some other things,” she said.
To ensure the creation of the new route, CATS officials applied for a Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality Grant, which is a federal grant received through the state. After applying for the grant this past August, CATS will receive the $1.1 million matching grant for the new route, with CATS having to pay $550,000 for the two-year grant.
The grant received for the new route was one of many CATS applied for, but was the only one the transit system will receive this year, White said.
Funding for the route after the grant runs out has not been determined, she said.
Other changes to CATS routes also will come in June with the cancellation of the Matthews-Mint Hill shuttle, Route 94, and the elimination of some stops along Independence Boulevard due to construction.
According to White, as Independence sees an increase in traffic and higher speeds the state will no longer allow CATS buses and
shuttles to stop in some locations along the major road leading from Matthews and Mint Hill to uptown Charlotte. However, CATS will work with the state to allow the stops to remain open as long as possible, she said.