When Charlotte Premium Outlets opens later this month, shoppers and employees will have an option for getting there without having to find a parking space.
Charlotte Area Transit System extended its Route 55 Westinghouse bus service June 30 to include the new outlets at Interstate 485 and N.C. 160, including weekends. The outlets are scheduled to open July 31.
The new route runs from a station at Sharon Road West down Westinghouse Boulevard, around the Westlake Business Park and up Steele Creek Road to the outlets. The route makes a loop of the outlets via Shopton and Dixie River roads.
The bus service will run 6:10-12:52 a.m. weekdays. Saturday hours are 6:25 a.m.-10:25 p.m. It runs 8:25 a.m.-9:31 p.m. Sundays. All buses are disability accessible and have bike racks.
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CATS also announced a fee increase beginning July 1. A one-way pass is up 20 cents to $2.20. Weekly, 10-day and monthly passes also are available, with varying increased rates.
Olayuwon Dennis, whose mother works for CATS, uses Route 55 from time to time. He sees it as a convenient option from his home near RiverGate shopping center in Steele Creek.
“I’ll ride it when I need to,” Dennis said. “That’s a good thing they’re going to extend it. There might be people who don’t have cars that want to shop.”
N.C. 160 traffic is a concern for Steele Creek residents. Bob Cook with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization said his group has comments about the road as part of an ongoing road improvement prioritization. Widening of the highway from Shopton Road West to South Tryon is on the table, as is an intersection improvement at 160 and Hamilton Road.
Cook’s group is assigning local points to projects based partly on public input through July 21.
“We can assign local points after N.C. DOT scores all the projects,” he said. “There’s this ranked order of projects based on (local planners) assigning local points.”
For more on the new CATS service, visit charmeck.org and search “CATS.”