By Ciera Choate
New and altered public transit routes are coming to the community.
Charlotte Area Transportation Services, or CATS, will launch the changes June 3, a Monday, which also includes the end of the Route 94 Matthews-Mint Hill shuttle and a new route along N.C. 51 – appropriately named Route 51. The shuttle service is being cancelled because of low ridership, officials say.
After many past routes in the area did not receive the ridership originally planned, Pamela White with CATS says the transportation group is doing what it can to get the word out about the additions and changes to the transit system.
“With the new routes that are starting … particularly with the Route 51, we have had several public meetings and our public information department has been working on helping us get the word out,” she said.
Route 51 along Pineville-Matthews Road will have about four to six stops in each direction. When first discussing the new route, CATS officials said there could be up to 10 stops in each direction, but White said stops were limited due to safety and the availability of stops.
“We wanted to make sure that we were establishing stops in areas that are safe and where it has the availability to board and board safely,” she said.
The route will begin in Matthews at the Sycamore Commons shopping center with stops at the Carmel Commons and Arboretum shopping centers in south Charlotte, the Independence Pointe Park and Ride at 9614 Independence Pointe Pkwy. and the Windsor Square shopping center in Matthews. The route will end at Carolina Place Mall in Pineville. Other stops include near Elizabeth Lane Elementary, Providence High School and Plantation Estates.
Other changes affecting the Matthews and Mint Hill areas are: the replacement of Route 40X Pence Road with the 46X Harrisburg Road Express with passengers being served at 222 Pence Road; 40X Albemarle Road being changed to 40X Lawyers Road with no changes coming to stops along the route; 51X Idlewild Road Express being changed to 52X Idlewild Express with the new route not making stops along Independence Boulevard; 64X Independence Boulevard Express operating nonstop between Sharon Amity Road and W.T. Harris Boulevard; and Route 221 now operating inbound and outbound trips from Conference Drive to Monroe Road.
Construction on Independence Boulevard will prohibit many routes from stopping on the major thoroughfare.
“(North Carolina Department of Transportation) is starting the work to expand Independence, as part of the construction in those areas; it’s going to prohibit us from having bus stops in that area,” White said.
For more information on changes to routes or schedule times go to www.ridetransit.org.