Light Rail

About light RAIL

The LYNX Blue Line connects UNC Charlotte with the neighborhoods and business districts from University City to uptown to as far south as Pineville. Light rail also provides greater accessibility for the citizens of the region to the resources of the University. Light rail stations at Ninth Street (beside UNC Charlotte Center City), J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte at North Tryon Street, and the UNC Charlotte Main Station along Cameron Boulevard at Wallis Hall (near North Deck) bring the convenience of light rail to the University’s doorstep.

Benefits of light rail

The LYNX Blue Line is the Charlotte region’s first light rail service; it opened in 2007. The line operates along 18.6 miles, from I-485 at South Boulevard to the UNC Charlotte campus. With 26 stations, including 11 park-and-ride locations, the LYNX Blue Line provides a congestion-free commute with a consistent travel time.

Benefits of using light rail include:

  • Affordable alternative to driving and parking on and off campus
  • Relief from congested traffic
  • Consistent travel time
  • Environmentally clean, affordable transportation
  • Close proximity to arenas, clubs, museums and employment centers
  • Increased economic development and property values


Where are the light rail stations that serve UNC Charlotte?

There are three light rail stations that serve the main UNC Charlotte campus. The UNC Charlotte Main Station is located along Cameron Boulevard at Wallis Hall (near North Deck). The other stations include J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte at North Tryon Street and Ninth Street (beside UNC Charlotte Center City). The 9th Street light rail station serves The Dubois Center at UNC Center City.

How can students and staff use light rail?

Students have a CATS All-Access Pass for unlimited rides on the CATS LYNX light rail, trolley, Special Transportation Service (STS), local and express bus routes, including the Airport Connector.

Faculty and staff have the option to purchase the same pass at MyPark.

CATS privileges are on the CATS-Pass app. Your All-Access Pass will appear in the “Wallet” section of the app. You must show the app to a fare inspector on LYNX light rail or scan your pass on the column when boarding a CATS bus.

CATS Special Transportation Service (STS) provides door-to-door transit services within Charlotte’s city limits and the towns of Matthews and Pineville for individuals with disabilities certified as eligible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). STS vehicles connect with Niner Paratransit for campus service. STS service requires user registration and CATS approval before being eligible to ride. This process takes 30 days on average to complete.

Do students or employees with an All-Access Pass still need a ticket to ride?

No, light rail and bus privileges are tied to the CATS-Pass app. Download the app to view your All-Access Pass in the “Wallet” section. Show your All-Access Pass when asked by a fare inspector on the train. On a bus, scan your pass on the column to board.

If you are issued a citation because you did not have your All-Access Pass, you may appeal the citation with CATS. CATS may decline or approve the appeal at their discretion. UNC Charlotte will not refund citation fines.

Can I purchase a CATS All-Access Pass for family or friends?

No, only UNC Charlotte students and employees are eligible for the CATS All-Access Passes. You may purchase tickets at light rail station kiosks or use the CATS Pass App.

Does bus service connect to the light rail on campus?

The campus bus system, Niner Transit, operates Monday through Sunday. Niner Transit stops at the UNC Charlotte Main Station. Visit PassioGO! to see live bus tracking.

Is light rail accessible for all riders?

Yes. CATS has worked to ensure all light rail stations and trains are accessible for people with disabilities. The University put in place accessible means to and from the campus station, including accessible pedestrian pathways.

On campus, Niner Paratransit provides scheduled and on-demand disability transport for those with mobility impairments registered for the service. Designated pick-up and drop-off points are located around campus close as possible to accessible building entrances.

Once I get off at UNC Charlotte Main Station, what are my on-campus transportation options?

If you prefer not to take a Niner Transit bus to get around, you can also walk or rent a bike or e-scooter from the campus bike and e-scooter rental program.

Can I connect directly from Amtrak to the LYNX Blue Line?

Currently, there is not a direct link between Amtrak and the LYNX Blue Line. Use a ride-sharing service to access the Parkwood Station via 16th Street or take the 11 – North Tryon bus to either the Charlotte Transportation Center in uptown or J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte Station to transfer to the Blue Line.

Can I park at a CATS light rail station?

There are 11 Park & Ride stations along the Blue Line, with four on the extension. While parking is free at most Park & Ride stations, CATS charges a $10 exit fee at the J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte and University City Boulevard stations, unless riders have a valid CATS daily, weekly or monthly pass. Riders without a CATS daily, weekly or monthly pass will be required to pay to exit the parking decks at J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte and University City Boulevard stations.

Remember, if you are a UNC Charlotte student, faculty or staff member with a CATS All-Access Transit Pass, your pass does not include parking fees incurred at a CATS facility.

I don’t want to purchase a CATS All-Access Transit Pass. How can I purchase a single ticket for the light rail?

You can purchase a ticket for light rail from CATS at a ticket vending machine located on every station platform or via the CATS-Pass app. To learn more about pricing, visit the CATS website.