For Queens students without a car, the more than 70 routes of bus and rail lines of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) can provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly option for exploring the Queen City.According to the CATS statistics, 22 million people use the system each year.
Eddie Young, director of residence life, confirms there are more than 860 students living on campus. Linda Hammaker, campus police office manager, confirms that around 540 of those students have parking passes. That leaves over 300 Queens students living on campus without easy access to travel beyond the campus.
Even for students with a vehicle on campus, the cost and hassle of driving to some locations around town can be prohibitive. According to www.charlottecentercity.org, the average daily parking rate in Uptown is $11, with some locations costing more than $35 during special events like Panthers games.
The cost of $2.20 per ride on a CATS bus can be a very favorable option, but knowing how to use the system will be the difference between a quick ride to the South Park mall or an exercise in map reading and missed buses.
You can see routes and buy passes on the CATS website.
A more portable version of the information is available on the app “Ride CATS”, available on iOS and Android. The app allows you to search for a specific route map and see when the next bus will be at a specific stop. Note that times given are estimates and not given in real time. CATS recommends arriving 10 minutes before the app’s ETA.
Route 20 is the CATS bus line that travels along Selwyn Avenue and passes directly in front of campus. The route leaves the Uptown transit center and makes its way to Carolina Place Mall near Interstate 485. The bus stop is located on Selwyn Avenue in front of Withers House.
Route 20 travels directly to Uptown, South Park Mall and Carolina Place Mall. For locations not along the route, you can get a free transfer from the bus driver. To plan multiple trips, CATS suggests using the Google Maps route planner, which can be found on the website and app.
If you plan to ride regularly, a weekly or monthly pass will save money. If you pay on the bus, each one-way trip will cost $2.20. And if you want your fellow passengers to stare at you instead of their phones, make sure you don’t have exact change ready when you board.