Local News

New Light-Rail Zips Fans to Bobcats Arena

Posted February 27, 2008 6:32 p.m. EST
Updated February 27, 2008 8:56 p.m. EST

— The men's games start Wednesday night in the 63rd Annual CIAA Basketball Tournament. As fans crowd the Queen City, city officials hope they use the new light-rail system.

“It's a good thing (light rail). It adds vibrancy to the city,” Charlotte resident Chris Waddle said.

The new light-rail system is helping the city transport thousands of CIAA fans to and from the Bobcats Arena.

“It's convenient,” Rocky Mount resident Leonard Johnson said.

Johnson drove to Charlotte to cheer on the Shaw University Bears as they played Livingstone College at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The rapid-transit trains started making tracks around Charlotte in November. City leaders said the system is averaging about 12,000 riders a day. That number will get a boost this week as CIAA fans opting to ride light-rail help reduce traffic congestion.

“It's going to be great. I rode it here to the arena,” said Leon Kerry, the CIAA's commissioner.

Kerry said the addition of the light-rail was among the key factors that helped keep the tournament in Charlotte until 2011.

“You can ride it from the outskirts of town. It's comfortable, not very expensive. It's going to be good,” he said.

A one-way fare cost $1.30, double for a round-trip ticket.

Information about the light-rail system was dropped off at hotels where CIAA fans are likely to be staying. The tournament is also promoting light-rail on its Web site.

The CIAA tournament runs from Feb. 25 through March 1.