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Parking Services News

Two aisles will be closed in Lot 8 (the large lot between Scott and Holshouser Halls) from March 2 -11 for work on drainage lines. The affected area has been marked with barricade signage.

If you plan to leave your car in Lot 8 over the break, please make sure that your vehicle is not parked in an aisle marked for closure. (Closed area highlighted).

This temporary disruption is part of the South Village construction project in preparation for a new regional utility plant to be built in that area. Because so much construction is scheduled this year, the Facilities Management website is posting weekly updates. Now might be a good time to bookmark the site, especially if you're a resident of or work on the South side of campus. Parking and Transportation Services will also pass along all information pertinent to parking and road closings, and traffic redirects on the PaTS site and through Twitter.

Lot 8 Photo

A nice-looking Instagram photo of riders on the campus shuttle was posted on the UNC Charlotte Facebook Page recently; the comments that followed prompted this article. We hope it encourages even more conversation between those who use shuttle service and those who provide it. Students riding the shuttle service at UNC Charlotte

Let's start by clarifying that the UNC Charlotte Campus Shuttle is a subsidized public service route provided by Charlotte Area Transit Service (CATS). Parking and Transportation Services oversees the service for the University. Now, on to the FAQs (and FHGs):

Why don't buses run on an exact schedule?

Schedules are posted here and are mobile-available via QR codes on most of the bus stop poles. Stop times are published as a planning guide and should be understood as "give-or-take 5 to 7 minutes either way.”

Reasons why schedules are so fluid:

  • Buses get behind schedule. Shuttles aren't trains that run on a track with no interruption. Campus roadways are narrow and not ideal for bus traffic because the general design favors pedestrians. So, at peak times, when cars are backed up at familiar congestion points like Mary Alexander Road by East Deck, the Phillips Road traffic light and the crosswalks in front of Fretwell and the Union, that holds the buses up, too.
  • Buses get ahead of schedule. Campus roads lack adequate bus pull-over areas. Therefore, when a shuttle runs ahead of schedule (which can happen on the runs between class changes) there's only one or two spots where drivers can idle for a few minutes to get back on schedule. Sometimes we hear they're sitting and doing this at route end-points like CRI, Lot 6 and Lot 8. PaTS has asked drivers not to do that because it blocks the roadway and annoys riders to see a bus sitting for what they think is "no reason." We have requested that CATS keep the buses moving continually with no schedule holds.
  • Drivers take breaks. Shuttle drivers require reasonable meal and bathroom breaks like everyone else.

Why can't we know exactly when the next bus is coming via a GPS app?

  • Real-time GPS information is not yet available from CATS. In a recent meeting with CATS, Parking and Transportation Services stressed the importance of having GPS with public interface. CATS indicated that they are moving toward fulfilling that expectation. "PaTS is committed to bring that [GPS info] about soon," said PaTS Director, Gary Caton, "and Charlotte Area Transit is making strong good-faith efforts to support us in that mission.”

In the meantime…

  • CATS offers the RideCATS app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry as a trip-planning guide. All Charlotte Area Transit routes are listed, including campus shuttles Green Line (Rt. 49), Yellow Line (Rt. 47) and Red Line (Rt. 50). Unfortunately, Campus routes are the least likely to be accurate because they traverse compact loops that are vulnerable to traffic variations occurring around class periods. PaTS will continue to press for a real-time GPS info delivery system and/or app.

Why don't we run our own service or get some other transportation company to run the shuttle?

  • Equipment, maintenance, insurance, liability, training, salaries, benefits etc., get cost-prohibitive quickly. Look at the transportation fee students are charged (it's a paltry $7 per semester) and what it actually costs to provide the shuttle; it becomes immediately clear why a subsidized arrangement with CATS is the best and most economical choice (for now).
  • In addition, if a vehicle breaks down or a driver calls in sick, CATS has a deep bench of equipment and drivers to quickly take their place. That's an important advantage CATS offers.

Will shuttle service expand to a larger area around campus and/or weekend service?

  • The Green Line (which runs from the remote parking lot at Starlight Cinema to campus) has expanded over the last three years to include stops by neighboring apartment communities such as The Flats at Mallard Creek, 901 Place and University Village. This was made possible partly because complexes assisted the University with subsidizing the CATS service so that their residents could ride free and because the complexes are on the direct route from UNC Charlotte remote parking. (People who board at off-campus Green Line stops without a Green Line Shuttle pass are required by CATS to pay the regular $1.75 fare.) This is a mutually beneficial arrangement because residents do not have to purchase UNC Charlotte parking permits and their cars are now off campus, helping to ease parking availability.
  • The primary goal of the shuttle is to provide safe, reliable, handicapped accessible transportation that’s FREE for students, staff and visitors to get around the perimeter of campus, with service around typical work-week hours and when the vast majority of classes are offered. The secondary goal is to encourage parking away from campus core by providing shuttle service from parking areas at the campus periphery and remote parking lots. The service offered now meets those goals within available funding; broadening service area/times cannot be financially justified at this time. If/when this changes, so should service.

Other schools like Chapel Hill and NC State have great bus service. Why doesn’t ours compare equally?

  • UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State are examples of campuses that are either in or near the center of metropolitan areas. They have decades-long relationships with local municipal transit authorities. Multiple routes are going to/through campus anyway.
  • By contrast, UNC Charlotte is situated on the outskirts of Charlotte. That changes the geographic equation completely, limiting the amount of buses that come out this way. In fact, there are only two: Rt. 29 (service from UNC Charlotte to Southpark Mall) and Rt. 11U (Uptown to UNC Charlotte via North Tryon Street).

Gary Caton, UNC Charlotte’s Director of Parking and Transportation Services says, “UNC Charlotte’s on-campus service is in its infancy; our shuttle didn’t begin until 2006. We first had to start the shuttle and get students familiar with using it. Now we’re focused on providing even better service that moves more people faster, and real-time GPS tracking.” And after that? “We do envision service expansion to cover more off-campus residences and points of interest.”

As the campus shuttle continues to evolve, the benefits are far-reaching. Caton explains: “The better the shuttle, the fewer people have to park on campus and less decks need to be built, which results in stabilized permit prices. A robust shuttle system also contributes to better traffic circulation and a healthier environment.”

How about putting up some bus shelters?

They're coming! Six shelters are being installed at high-use shuttle stops, with expected completion within the next 30 days. Shelters will be placed at:

  1. Cameron Road, near Wallis Hall, serving North campus residence halls, Lot 25 and North Deck
  2. CRI, between EPIC Bldg. and Grigg Hall
  3. Craver Road, between Burson Bldg. and the Student Union
  4. Craver Road at Auxiliary Services Bldg.
  5. Mary Alexander Rd., between Fretwell and McEniry
  6. Lot 6, near the Cameron Rd and John Kirk Rd. intersection

An additional shelter will be placed at Lot 27 on Toby Creek Rd., to be utilized for special events and future use.

Whom do I contact for questions/complaints about the shuttle?

Starr Wimberly is the Transportation Manager for PaTS:; 704-687-0279. Parking and Transportation Services welcomes your questions and comments about the shuttle. In fact, some of the adjustments made to routes and stops are the result of student and staff suggestions. Complaints are passed immediately on to CATS supervisors and Parking and Transportation Services does follow-up on them.

The Rt. 49 Green Line that serves the North end of campus and several stops off campus (including Starlight Theater remote parking, The Flats, 901 Place, UVillage) is often crowded Monday – Thursday mornings. When this or any shuttle reaches maximum standing room, Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) drivers are not permitted to pick up additional passengers and must leave people at remaining stops to wait on the next bus.

From a safety perspective, that makes perfect sense, but from the perspective of someone waiting on the curb when bus whizzes by without stopping, it’s truly annoying!

Starr Wimberly, PaTS Transportation Manager says, “Because the stop by The Flats is the last in-bound stop on the route, passengers waiting there at peak times are more likely to be left if the Green Line is at full capacity. We definitely want to avoid this, so CATS has adjusted the Red Line (Rt. 50) to pick up at Mary Alexander Road and Mary Alexander Place, Monday through Thursday mornings from 7:30 AM until 10:30 AM.”

Gary Caton, PaTS Director, says, “Adding this stop to the Red Line’s morning schedule is a stop-gap measure to ease the Green Line’s morning load. We’re working with CATS to provide a better, more permanent solution to handle the Green Line’s ridership needs.”

 “Unfortunately,” says Wimberly, “some passengers aren’t getting on the Red Line at that stop. It may be because it’s not their usual bus or perhaps they're unsure of where it goes... they don’t take advantage of the ride into campus.”

Residents of The Flats and those who catch the shuttle at Mary Alexander Road and Mary Alexander Place in the morning, please know that the Red Line is stopping there for you. From there the shuttle will go to:

  • Lot 6/6A
  • East Deck 3
  • East Deck 1
  • Parking Services/Auxiliary Services
  • Student Union/CHHS
  • Woodward Hall
  • CRI West
  • CRI East

Have other questions/concerns about campus shuttle service? Please tell us! Your feedback helps improve service. Write

Permit enforcement begins the first day of class, Monday, January 9.

Student permit purchase and pick-up will be set up in the Student Union first floor Art Gallery:

Friday, January 6 • 8AM-5PM

Saturday, January 7 • 10AM-2PM

Monday, January 9 • 8AM-6PM

Tuesday, January 10 • 8AM-6PM

  • Permits purchased online will be ready for express pick-up the next day. (Permit prices and information)
  • If you don't get your permit before Monday, you may park in the Union visitor deck (or if full, visitor parking in East or Cone Decks) and receive a voucher for 1 hour of free parking upon pick-up of your permit.
  • Those waiting for a financial aid refund or are otherwise unable to purchase a permit before classes begin, may buy a temporary permit for $5 per day.
  • Faculty/Staff permit/purchase pick-up is in the PaTS Office (#23 on Campus Map).
Parking changes for Spring Semester
  • Expect the parking decks and lots nearest to academic areas to fill quickly and early, especially for the first few weeks of the semester. (As usual!)
  • There's always plenty of parking in North Deck (across from Laurel Hall, near Police and Public Safety) and Lot 6 (on Cameron, across from Campus Edge) where you can take the campus shuttle into class.
  • Parking around the highrises will be significantly impacted by "South Village" construction projects which will include: construction of a regional utility plant in Lot 8; reconfiguration of Highrise Road; construction of Parking Deck J on Lot 8; construction of Phase XI housing; construction of a new dining hall. Spaces will be taken off-line in phases and, by March, parking will become quite restrictive around the highrises and Hunt Village. PaTS is making every effort to provide sufficient parking for vehicles that currently have parking permits and are parking around the highrises and Hunt Village.
  • Parking spaces in Lot 22 (near Lynch and Spruce Halls) are expected to be displaced sometime during Spring semester due to construction of Phase X housing.
  • We'll post updates as construction schedules progress on Twitter (@unccparking) and on the PaTS website,

From Thursday, December 8 through Friday, December 16, shuttles will be on the "Friday schedule," which is: Rt. 50 Red Line: one bus running clockwise, 6:30 AM - 6:00 PM (about every 20-30 minutes) Rt. 47 Yellow Line: one bus running clockwise, 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM (about every 20-30 minutes) Rt. 49 Green Line: one bus, 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM (about every 30 minutes) Shuttle service ends at 6:00 PM, Friday, December 16 and will resume normal scheduled service on Monday, January 9. SafeRide accessibility and evening safety escort service ends Friday, December 23 at 6:00 PM and will resume Tuesday, January 3 at 7:00 AM.

Students and staff who need to leave their cars on campus over the Thanksgiving break should park in Lot 25, near Police and Public Safety. Resident student, commuter and F/S permits are all allowed there. Parking your car in the open lot closest to Campus Police HQ makes more sense than an isolated spot in an empty deck.

10 Parking Tips for Black Friday and the Holiday Season

(from International Parking Institute)

  1. Exercise Caution When Backing Out. 25 percent of parking lot accidents are caused by backing moves. Watch for other drivers and pedestrians.
  2. Obey the Law. Obey posted speed limits and stop signs, and reserve handicapped spots for disabled users. Drive slowly and remember to signal.
  3. Keep Your Headlights On. Using your headlights can reduce your crash risk, even in the daytime.
  4. Get Your Exercise. Choose a parking space farther away from the building. Fewer people want to park in distant spaces, so there is much less hassle.
  5. Follow Etiquette Basics. When waiting for a spot, do not block other parking space seekers. Once parked, center your vehicle and pull all the way into the space. Also, remember to return shopping carts to designated cart corral areas.
  6. Be a Mindful Pedestrian. Parking lot etiquette also applies to pedestrians. Do not walk in the middle of the lane, refrain from texting while walking, and avoid jaywalking–instead use marked pedestrian crosswalks.
  7. Watch for Small Children. Children can be hard to see in busy parking areas and often make sudden, unpredictable moves. Keep a close eye on any children with you and look out for others as well.
  8. Buckle Up and Be Patient. Even low speed collisions can result in injuries. Resist the temptation to honk the horn (or worse). Showing grace instead of anger prevents reciprocal aggression.
  9. Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings. Park in well-lit areas and always make sure you’ve rolled up your car windows and locked your doors. Have your keys out and ready when returning to your car.
  10. Time Yourself. If you park at a metered spot, note the expiration time and plan to return a few minutes early, setting an alarm as a reminder. Some on-street spaces now offer the ability to extend your parking time remotely through your mobile phone.

Hertz on Demand as swapped out the Toyota Prius cars on campus with new, roomier, Nissan Altima hybird vehicles and we still have the Ford Escape ready to pack with friends and holiday shopping purchases. Now Hertz on Demand is running a special: Rent three times before December 31st, and earn $15 in Driving Credits for use in 2012! (*Credits will be applied January 14th 2012.)

If you aren’t already a Hertz on Demand member enjoying the convenience of using a nice, dependable car when you need it, paying only for the time you use it, now is a great time to join. Don’t let not having a car of your own stop you from hitting the stores for Black Friday bargains, or taking day visits to friends and family. With Hertz on Demand, all you need is a valid driver’s license and a membership card. Hertz provides the car, the gas and insurance for the car. Then get in and drive for only $8 per hour.

Get membership information here

Shuttle info sign sample

Starr Wimberly, PaTS Transportation Manager, reports that new informational signage has been installed for UNC Charlotte campus shuttle routes. Designed to provide much more detail about the campus shuttle service, the signs also utilize smart phone technology in the form of a QR code.

Starr Wimberly with newly installed shuttle information sign at North Deck stopEye-level inserts attached to bus stop poles indicate where you are, show what routes pick up there and list major ‘landmark’ stops along the way. Route information is color-coded and includes hours of service and average run times. A QR code at the bottom of each sign allows smart phone users to thumb-navigate through graphic maps of each route and complete lists of inbound and outbound stops. This improvement will help visitors and those less familiar with the campus shuttle system to more easily determine how best to get to where they want to go.

Here’s a quick video that explains QR codes.

The web interface feature complements the Ride-CATS mobile app, which provides schedule information for all Charlotte Area

CATS app for the iPhone

Transit lines, including UNC Charlotte shuttles: Route 47 Yellow Line, Route 49 Green Line and Route 50 Red Line.

The Ride-CATS app is free and available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Learn more here

Nancy Smith, Parking and Transportation Services Field Operation Manager, reports that parking areas that consistently hit top capacity (listed in order):

  • Union Deck
  • Lot 18 (in front of the Union)
  • Lot 19 (by Spruce Hall)
  • East Deck 2 and 3
  • West Deck

 “Monday through Thursday, from about 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM is when we’re seeing the most demand,” Smith says, “with Thursday being the highest.”

Based on the University’s scheduling of classes, this is to be expected. But just because it’s expected doesn’t make it any less annoying to know that odds are against getting a parking space close to campus core at 11:00 AM on any day but Friday.

Smith advises, “If you need an immediate place to park, go straight to Lot 6 [across from Campus Edge] and take the Red Line shuttle into class. Even during peak class times, there have been at least 500 spaces available in Lot 6.”

The new North Deck, located across from Laurel Hall, near Police and Public Safety, has consistently had 1,000 empty spaces since the first day of class. The Green Line shuttle picks up there and can take you straight up Craver Road to the Student Union/CHHS/COE quad, up the hill to Burson, Cameron and McEniry.

Here’s a recent local news story about parking at UNC Charlotte confirming that while prime, convenient parking is at a premium, campus does have adequate spaces.

There’s no getting around the fact that UNC Charlotte has grown so much that close-in parking is very limited from late morning until early afternoon. So if you don’t have time to try your luck, choose alternative parking that is farther out and along a shuttle route. You may be surprised by how much easier it is to just park, ride, and get on with your day. Shuttle stop maps and schedules.

With classes back in session, we wanted to take a moment to remind everyone of some of the basic etiquette for the campus shuttle that runs all over UNC Charlotte’s campus.

  • Please wait until exiting passengers have stepped off the bus before boarding.
  • Campus shuttle benches are small-ish but the forward-facing seats are meant to hold two people. During peak ridership times, go ahead and slide toward the window so someone can sit on the aisle-side without having to ask.
  • Place backpacks on your lap or on the floor, taking care not create tripping hazards near the aisle.
  • When capacity reaches standing room, move toward the back of the bus so there’s room for others to get on.
  • Simple courtesies and an occasional “excuse me,” and “thank you,” go a long way to making the ride more pleasant for everyone.