This morning, one of the most transformative projects in University history became reality. Just before 10 a.m., the first revenue-service light rail train arrived at UNC Charlotte Main Station, marking the official opening of the LYNX Blue Line Extension. An eager crowd of students, faculty, staff and friends filled the platform to be among the first to ride on opening day. This long-anticipated arrival ushers in a new dimension of connectivity for the University and its community.
“The signs are true – light rail connects us all,” said Kevin Bailey, vice chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs, during a brief ceremony prior to the first train departing. “This will be a great opportunity for students to have easy access to Charlotte for social, cultural and business opportunities. UNC Charlotte and the Queen City have never been more connected.”
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended tracks offers 11 new stations providing light rail service to the University’s main and uptown campuses at three locations: 9th Street Station (serving UNC Charlotte Center City), J.W. Clay Boulevard/UNC Charlotte and UNC Charlotte Main Station near Wallis Hall on the north side of campus. Completion of the light rail line represents the culmination of nearly two decades of committed collaboration among elected officials, county government staff, business leaders and elected officials whose combined federal, state, city and county investment drove the project from concept to reality.
Students are eager to have light rail to continue building on the already strong Charlotte connections — from the NCAA tournament to the Charlotte Ballet, to grabbing coffee in NoDa and dining in Uptown, getting involved and being in the center of the action, light rail connects like never before.
“We’re excited for the opportunities light rail will bring to students at UNC Charlotte’s campuses,” said Tracey Allsbrook, student body president. “In fact, students throughout the entire UNC System are thrilled because they look to Charlotte as a place to start their careers — and light rail is a major factor in drawing them to the city.”
Students have a CATS all-access pass for unlimited rides on LYNX light rail, the trolley, Special Transportation Service (STS) and local and express bus routes, including the Airport Connector. Faculty and staff have the option to purchase the same pass with privileges on 49er ID Cards; employees would show their card when asked by a fare inspector on the train; be prepared to show University ID each time.
For more information about the Blue Line Extension, including pass and security information, visit lightrail.uncc.edu.