About Light Rail at UNC Charlotte

The LYNX Blue Line Extension allows for a new dimension of connectivity between UNC Charlotte and the neighborhoods and business districts along the Blue Line as far south as Pineville. Light rail also provides greater accessibility for the citizens of the region to the resources of the University.

New light rail stations at Ninth Street (beside UNC Charlotte Center City), J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte at North Tryon Street, and the UNC Charlotte Main Station along Cameron Boulevard at Wallis Hall (near North Deck) will bring the convenience of light rail to the University doorstep. And as part of the Blue Line Extension, eight other new light rail stations, and related bus routes will provide an alternative to using automobiles.

The prospect of bringing more people to and from campus for work, performing arts, athletic events, festivals and other activities will prove revolutionary for students, staff, faculty, alumni and visitors.

UNC Charlotte showed its commitment to light rail by the granting of the right-of-way for the campus portion of the line. This right-of-way and other infrastructure totaled more than $6 million. So, UNC Charlotte – like Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), the federal government, the citizens of Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina – is deeply and directly invested in this project.

Light Rail Connects Us: Things You Need to Know

It’s opening during this academic year: The LYNX Blue Line Extension will open by March 31, 2018. Stay tuned for the latest information on the exact opening date.

The pass is all-access: When light rail service to campus opens, all students can ride CATS LYNX light rail, trolley, Special Transportation Service (STS) and buses fare-free. An addition of $50 a year to the Miscellaneous Transportation Service Charge covers the cost of unlimited, all-access riding privileges for students. Faculty and staff may purchase the same privileges for $75 a year.

No charge until it opens: Students will not see the light rail addition to their Miscellaneous Transportation Service Charge until train service begins. More information will be provided when the exact opening date is determined.

Just tap and go: Light rail privileges are tied to your 49er ID Card, so that means you don’t have to have a ticket to board. Just tap your card at a reader installed on the cars when you enter and exit. You can do the same on a bus, just tap your card on the contactless card reader on the fare box.

Safety is a priority: In addition to the safety measures already in place by CATS – like advanced, state-of-the-art cameras and security officers on trains – the University is taking additional steps to accommodate light rail’s arrival on campus. Security cameras, extra lighting and blue light phones are installed at the station on campus. Additional police officers have been hired and will be assigned to patrol the area, especially during peak travel times and at night.

Getting around campus has never been easier: When you get off the train at the UNC Charlotte Main Station, the all-new Niner Transit bus system will deliver you to your destination on campus. If you would rather transport yourself, the University’s new bike-share program, Charlotte Wheels, is available for your use, with 10 hubs across campus.  

It’s accessible. CATS is working with UNC Charlotte to ensure the J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte Main stations will be accessible for people with disabilities.

Light Rail Connects Us: Safety Tips During Construction

UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) continue preparing the campus for light rail’s arrival. This fall will bring an increase in construction traffic, periodic traffic disruption and several active construction sites.

Below are some safety tips and more information about what you can expect to see:

  • Trains will travel to campus and stop at stations as CATS tests the system. This will usually take place during evening hours.
  • As testing begins, you will see gates lowered across roadways to allow the train to pass. Observe all signals and signs in these areas.
  • Barriers will begin to be removed near the light rail station on campus. Remember the train is not open for passenger service. Stay off the station platform and away from any parked trains.
  • Do not walk on or near the light rail tracks except at designated pedestrian crossings.
  • Expect an increase in construction traffic on campus. Stay alert when walking, and be mindful of any changes in traffic patterns.
  • Pay attention when near active construction sites. Look for signage that will mark alternative pedestrian routes.

Lynx Rapid Transit Services - Blue Line Extension