Jun 30, 2022 - News

Expect more delays on Charlotte buses, CATS says

Charlotte transit center uptown

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The Charlotte Area Transit System has been significantly short-staffed for more than a week, causing headaches for bus riders and drivers.

What’s happening: At least 56 drivers per day have been out since June 22, which was the first day CATS began tweeting how many drivers were out and warning riders to expect delays.

Context:CATS needs 292 drivers to operate efficiently on a weekday, while 227 and 152 are needed for Saturday and Sunday respectively. They have 497 total drivers on staff.

  • The impact on bus routes varies daily based on the number of drivers available.

Why it matters: CATS has a growing reputation for being unreliable beyond its bus system. Its LYNX Gold Line also struggles to be consistent.

What they’re saying: CATS told our partners at WBTV driver absences happen because of several factors, both planned and unplanned, including planned vacations, childcare issues, or leaves of absence.

  • “It is difficult to plan for this level of absenteeism,” CATS added in its statement to Axios. “Routes are impacted as the day goes on, and we try to ensure we provide the best service option available with the personnel available.
  • We encourage riders to use the CATS-Pass app for real-time information about their routes or contact Customer Service with questions about route impacts.” 

Data: Charlotte Area Transit System; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

By the numbers:  Here’s a look at the number of drivers who were available and the number who were out between June 22-27. 

  • June 22:  284 worked; 107 were absent 
  • June 23: 275 worked; 97 were absent 
  • June 24: 266 worked; 92 were absent 
  • June 25: 173 worked; 72 were absent
  • June 26: 120 worked; 56 were absent
  • June 27: 246 worked; 88 were absent 

The bottom line: An inefficient public transit system hurts people who need it the most.


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