There's a lot of construction going on at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. There are also fewer parking spaces. So finding parking is not easy.
But to make it a little easier, airport and transit officials will begin offering two new express bus routes to the airport starting Monday.
The Charlotte Area Transit System already includes an express bus service to the airport. It's called the Sprinter. It goes from uptown to the airport via Wilkinson Boulevard.
Now there are two more express service options to the airport. There's a Northern route – from Northlake Mall's Park & Ride lot … and a Southern Route – from the Archdale/Tyvola/Woodlawn train stations to the airport.
Haley Gentry with Charlotte Douglas says the bus rides to the airport are expected to take about 20 minutes.
The service will run every 30 minutes and is expected mostly for drop-off passengers. You're not allowed to park at the lots for more than 24 hours.
"This is something that we have had numerous requests for over the years -- to have some sort of direct shuttle service to the airport," Gentry says. "We've also had the request to connect light rail to the airport and right now in our environment this is kind of the next best thing."
The airport is underwriting the cost of the bus service for $175,000 during a 60-day trial run. The results of that test run will determine whether to continue the service.
CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers says they will use its substitute bus drivers to run the new service.
"We feel that the timing is right with the conditions at the airport – a lot of construction and summer peak travel season – and that we could leverage the assets that we have in terms of our fleet and parking availability to assist them in relieving some of the problems that they're encountering at this time," Flowers says.
The fare is $2.75. That's until July 1 – when the cost of tickets goes up system wide. A one-way ticket will then cost you three dollars.