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May 27, 2010

Charlotte, N.C., May 24, 2010 ─ As Center City Charlotte busily prepares for the roar of engines and crowds for the 2010 Food Lion Speed Street Festival May 27-29 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race May 30, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is gearing up for the large crowds anticipated during these two signature events by providing extra bus and rail service.  Because of street closures, many of CATS’ regular bus routes will be on detour on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Customers are urged to check www.ridetransit.org for detour information.

“Last year during Speed Street we saw our highest ridership day ever during regular service with just over 32,000 passenger trips on a Friday,” said Rocky Paiano, CATS General Manager of the LYNX Blue Line.  This year CATS has added new rail cars to its fleet and will have 18 cars out on the line to accommodate crowds.  Two-car trains will operate every 7.5 minutes during the afternoon rush hour and Friday and Saturday evenings, the busiest times of Speed Street.  The LYNX Blue Line will run every 10-15 minutes Thursday evening and Saturday morning. 

On Sunday, May 30 the 79X Concord Mills Express will operate every 20 minutes between noon and 6:30 p.m. to help get fans to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.   “CATS will add express service on Sunday to provide that quick, hassle-free way to get to the speedway,” said Larry Kopf, CATS’ Chief Operations Planning Officer.  

Route 79X begins at Fourth and McDowell Streets in Uptown and stops at the Charlotte Transportation Center and near the major hotels on Trade Street between College and I-77.  People driving to Uptown to catch the shuttle can park in the lot adjacent to the Blake Hotel and the Cameron Brown Building at 301 South McDowell Street.  Parking costs $5 per car at this location.  The bus will pick up customers at the bus shelter outside the Blake Hotel. 

Passengers may bring small coolers that fit on their laps but no eating or drinking are permitted while on the bus.  Both drop-off and pick-up locations at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be near the track’s main entrance.  Return trips begin running immediately after the checkered flag as race fans make their way to the buses. 

Fare for the 79X Concord Mills Express is $6 round-trip.  Tickets can be purchased at the Charlotte Transportation Center, located at 310 East Trade Street in Center City.  Customers can also purchase tickets online at http://secure.ridetransit.org/psales/c-7-special-event-may-races.aspx

To learn more about CATS and its services visit www.ridetransit.org or call (704) 336-RIDE (7433).