CATS has plans to bring riders back after massive drop. Will it work? (WFAE)

WFAE analyzed ridership and service data on all CATS bus routes, as well as historical data from the federal government for CATS and other transit systems and found collapsing bus ridership.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles wants voters to one day approve a penny sales tax for a $13.5 billion transit plan. It would pay for a new light-rail line and more bus service, along with greenways and bike lanes. Meg Fencil with the pro-transit group Sustain Charlotte said CATS needs to build a system where people don’t have to spend more than 20 minutes or so at a bus stop.

“If the network is not functioning as a network it’s difficult to call some routes a failure,” she said. “If those crosstown routes are so infrequent that they’re not reliably getting people to the hub and spoke buses then it’s not going to be an attractive system overall.”

She also said the city hasn’t spent enough on the bus system.

“Frankly (there has been) a lack of investment in the transit system,” Fencil said. “As Charlotte was investing in rail service we did not make a concurrent investment in the bus system to meet the needs of a growing population.”

Read the full WFAE story.