• UPDATE: CATS fares will increase 10 percent on July 1

    By: Jenna Deery


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte city leaders voted Wednesday night to hike fares for Charlotte Area Transit System riders.
    The Transit Commission voted yes on a 10 percent bump for all rates that will start on July 1.

    It’s a move the commission considers every two years to keep up with inflation and helps avoid a major increase when tough times hit the city.
    Daily bus fare will be $2.20.

    Now, riders must pay with exact change but Eyewitness News uncovered Charlotte could soon move away from that practice and undergo a high-tech overhaul.

    There's a new push to find the money to streamline the system and use a program similar to bigger cities like Washington, D.C.
    There's been a lot of new changes with public transportation in Charlotte.

    The light rail is expanding and a street car is coming but transportation officials said the buses are outdated when it comes to how riders can pay.
    It has old technology in it and something that can't be upgraded, said Olaf Kinard, CATS director of marketing.
    CATS is applying for grants to make the payment system seamless and faster.
    If approved, the 16-year-old system on all 320 buses would be overhauled and the light rail would also get new technology to match.
    “It would save us time, save them time and make it more convenient and also keep them using the system,” Kinard said. 
    Some payment ideas include mobile payments using a barcode on your smartphone and contact less cards that you can keep in your pocket that signals payment when you get on.
    CATS officials believe faster payments will cut down on lag time, getting people on and off at stops for more on time, efficient service.
    Cortez Johnson relies on public transportation every day.
    “It gets difficult at times,” Johnson said.
    He'll take anything that will make the ride easier.
    “It's always good where you can go and handle your tickets via different ways so I say, ‘Go for it,’ Johnson said.
    Transportation officials said they should find out this summer if they get grants for the $7.5 million project.
    If they get it, new systems could be in place in 2014.

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