CATS will end free rides, expand some light-rail and bus schedules

CATS customers have been riding for free since March 25 to allow for social distancing. Starting June 8, fares will be required.

For nearly two months, bus and light-rail riders have had a free pass. As Mecklenburg County reopens, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) officials announced that tickets or cash fares will be required starting June 8.

CATS stopped collecting fares on March 25 to allow for social distancing and to protect transit workers. CATS also limited schedules and suspended some services, such as express bus routes, due to lower demand because of Covid-19 stay-at-home orders. CATS will expand some of these previously modified routes beginning June 8.

Know when to go

LYNX Blue Line

  • Monday through Saturday: 15-minute service between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Printed rail Saturday schedule after 7 p.m. Sundays remained unchanged. See light-rail schedules.

CATS Bus Service

  • Monday through Friday: CATS will increase frequency on these high-ridership routes: 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 21, 27 and 34.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Regular weekend schedule. See bus schedules.
  • Express Service: March 25 modified service continues, e.g., routes 41X, 61X, 65X, and 88X remain suspended.

Get tickets in advance

Purchase a pass: On June 1, customers can buy tickets at the Charlotte Transportation Center (310 E. Trade St.), pass sales locations throughout the area, the CATS Pass mobile app or the CATS website.

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Exchange April passes: For customers who bought an April monthly or weekly pass, exchanges can be made at the Charlotte Transportation Center. Exchanges will be permitted through July 31.

New customer service hours also begin June 1:

  • Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Photo: QCity Metro

Keep your distance, stay safe

  • Limit contact with transit operators.
  • Exit via the rear door of vehicle where possible.
  • Continue social distancing from fellow passengers.
  • Wash and/or sanitize your hands.
  • CATS encourages all riders to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of wearing a non-surgical cloth face covering while in public.

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