Concern over CATS Gold Rush route possibly being canceled

- The fate of one Charlotte area transit system route could be decided Wednesday night.

The proposed discontinuation of the Gold Rush Line from Johnson C. Smith University to Uptown Charlotte is leaving riders with many questions and concerns.

"There are people who can't pay two dollars for the regular bus," said Gold Rush Route Rider Taryn Laughlin.

For the 923 people who ride the Gold Rush Line daily, the proposed discontinuation is causing a bit of chaos.

"This is the only free transportation in Charlotte," said Laughlin.

The route runs about four times an hour.

"Back and forth every 15 minutes," said CATS Community Relations Specialist Juliann Sheldon. "We have CityLynx Gold Line street construction on W. Trade Street in that corridor -- and that will cause buses to have to detour."

"I'm concerned their primary reason is not valid," said Laughlin. "They're saying it’s because of construction delays -- there are ways around that. It can run less often or they can figure out other things."

Routes one and seven are suggested for those who ride the Gold Rush Route and they even operate on weekends. However, the cost for both is $2.20.  The Gold Rush Route is free.

"We see people riding the bus who clearly need that," Laughlin said. "And they need that free bus and transportation to get to Uptown to work and we think it's a shame it would be taken away."

Gold Rush Route riders concerned for their community, hoping there's still time for a change of heart.

"I believe this route is a central part of diversity for Charlotte," said Rider Daniel Laughlin.  "This impacts many riders around the West End and in Uptown of different income levels."

"Let's work together and see the difference we can make in the time left we have," added Taryn Laughlin.

The Metropolitan Transit Commission is scheduled to make a decision at a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.  That's at the Government Center on E. 4th Street.

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