May 19, 2017 - News

You’ll one day be able to combine the light rail and Uber in a few smartphone taps

Charlotte Area Transit System is working on a mobile app that will actually be groundbreaking in making it easier for people to get around the city — especially for the poor.

A neat feature will make it simple to combine transit rides on the bus or light rail with ride-sharing services like Uber.

The first phase of the new CATS app will create individual accounts for transit riders. They can load money in to the account to be used for bus or light rail rides. There will also be a system for people without bank services to get cash into their mobile account — the first app in North America that will allow this, CATS says. One in four people in Mecklenburg County has no bank account.

The second phase of the app — an update, if you will — would link up with Uber and Lyft and let people combine transit trips with rides to the final destination. You could use the money in your CATS account to pay for it.

The City Council is expected to approve a $160,000 contract with Aria Transport Services on Monday to design the app. No word yet on a timeline for it to be complete.

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