Monday, March 3, 2008

The CIAA is over and CATS is the big loser

Posted By on Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 1:26 AM

Charlotte is a winner. Johnson C. Smith University men's basketball team won the men's CIAA crown on Saturday. But the Charlotte Area Transit System is a big loser. Of the thousands of people who rode the light rail this week, not many of them paid. Seriously.

So many of the CIAA visitors thought the Lynx Blue Line was free. A friend and I took the train to the Convention Center on Saturday afternoon for the Ford Fan Experience and I suggested that she purchase a student ticket to see if the transit checkers would kick her off. She's such a good friend. And no one checked her ticket. Mine either, which I paid full price for. The train was packed like a can of sardines. Many of the regular riders were pissed to say the least. Riding the train did afford you a chance to avoid all of the traffic congestion in Uptown last week. So, when it was time to head to the championship game, me and my fellow Smith alumni friends decided to take the train to the arena. We got on the train and no one checked for our tickets.

We left from the Bland station and when we were on the platform waiting to buy tickets, one of the machines was down. Honorable people (like myself heh-heh) walked over to the I-485 platform and purchased a round-trip ticket. And the two of us who did that put $2.60 into CATS's pocket. I'm pretty sure they lost a whole lot more money. After the championship game, we headed back to the light rail and for the first time all week, there was someone checking for tickets. Not valid ticket, just tickets. And guess what? One of the ticket machines was down again. But since the police and CATS security were on platform, many of the riders had to purchase tickets; I can tell you this, however, not a lot of people bought tickets. And when getting on the train, no one else checked for the tickets. Once again, the train was packed. Here's hoping that CATS will get it together and figure out how to make money off the light rail when there are huge events in town.

Goodbye CIAA. The tournament's gone, but the trophy is still where it belongs at JCSU!!!

Full disclosure: If it wasn't disgustingly obvious, Cheris Hodges is a graduate of JCSU.

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