by Justin Vick
MOORESVILLE – Mooresville’s decision on Monday, Oct. 18, to discontinue bus service to uptown Charlotte could tie up other Park and Ride locations in the Lake Norman area.
Mooresville commissioners said they couldn’t justify renewing the town’s six-month contract with the Charlotte Area Transit System for $25,207.50 when the three buses on the Mooresville Express route served an average of just 59 passengers.
But that leaves some concerned that once Mooresville’s existing contract with the transit system expires Dec. 31, many of those 59 passengers could start riding the North Mecklenburg Express.
During a recent Lake Norman Transportation Commission meeting, Davidson Town Manager Leamon Bryce said if Mooresville did not renew its contract with the transit system, he was “fairly confident” his town would see a boost in cars at Park and Ride lots.
After all, the closest Park and Ride location to Mooresville is at Griffith and Watson streets in Davidson, followed by Cornelius Town Hall on Catawba Avenue. The route has two more designated lots in Huntersville before continuing non-stop to uptown Charlotte.
“We aren’t in the best condition to provide parking and accommodate, but we will,” Bryce said. “We’ll just have to get people to understand it’s OK to park on Jackson Street and some down to Cornelius.”
Some leaders are interested in exploring the potential of extending the North Mecklenburg Express into Mooresville. Transit system officials are willing to pursue the idea with the town, according to Mooresville Transportation Director Neil Burke, though he cautioned commissioners that it probably wouldn’t reduce costs by much.
Mooresville leaders attributed the low ridership of its 83X in part to the availability of routes.
Buses leave Mooresville for uptown Charlotte at 6, 6:30 and 7 a.m. They leave Charlotte for Mooresville at 4:15, 4:40 and 5:15 p.m. However, passengers have 14 opportunities to board the North Mecklenburg Express in Davidson from 5:26 to 9:05 a.m.
“CATS needs to play along and give us ridership that makes sense,” Mooresville Commissioner Chris Carney said Monday before voting against renewing the town’s contract. “If you don’t get out of work by 5 p.m., you can’t even leave Charlotte on the bus. That doesn’t make sense. Nobody works those hours.”