Charlotte Transportation

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is located on the west side of town near Billy Graham Parkway. Bus route 5 (Airport) goes there. The airport is a major domestic hub for US Airways, and receives flights from most major airlines. Though the airport has diversified somewhat in the past few years, US Airways domestic flights are still its primary source of traffic. Taxis charge a flat $20 rate for a trip from the airport to Uptown (for one or two passengers; additional charges apply for groups).

The Amtrak station is located on North Tryon near Dalton, on bus route 11 (North Tryon). If you arrive by train, be aware that this area is relatively seedy. Though you will be safe in and around the station, it is not a good idea to "wing it" once you arrive. Try to pre-arrange travel from the station to your next destination; walking is not recommended.

The interstate highways through Charlotte are Interstates 85 (northeast-southwest) and 77 (north-south). I-85 takes you to Burlington and Greensboro. N.C. 74 is also a primary route into the city, and links with I-277. Note that while I-277 (inner loop) has been completed for some time, I-485 (outer loop) is incomplete and still under construction. The northwestern quadrant of I-485 is still missing, but the rest of the freeway is quite useful for circling the perimeter of the city. Secondary roads in Charlotte are notoriously difficult to navigate. The city can be a delight to explore by car, but visitors are strongly advised to pick up a free map or purchase a road map upon arrival.

The Greyhound station is just northwest of Uptown Charlotte and is served by buses 8 (Tuckaseegee), 34 (Freedom Drive), and 7 (Beatties Ford).

CATS (Charlotte Area Transit System) buses cover most of the city. They depart from the teal-roofed Transit Center in the Uptown business district. Though they are generally clean and safe, they are usually not the most efficient way to get around the city. The Express buses connecting Uptown with the outer suburbs have proven popular among the professional crowd as a way to get in and out of the city without having to fight traffic. Though they only depart and return to their destinations a handful of times per day, they may be a desirable mode of transportation for someone making a day trip to the downtown area.

Uptown Charlotte is very dense, and almost all attractions in that part of town are easily reached by walking. However, only a few other districts (such as NoDa and Dilworth) are truly pedestrian-friendly. Outer districts, such as Ballantyne and University City, are pedestrian-unfriendly areas. If you must walk, give some thought to the weather; summer days in the South are quite hot and it is easy to get dehydrated.

Taxi services are available to any part of Charlotte. There are several prominent companies, and unlike larger cities (for instance, New York or London) the design of the vehicles is not uniform. However, a taxi is always recognizable by a sign on the roof of the car. Metro Cab (704-852-4147), Diamond Cab Company (704-333-3030), A A Prestige Taxi Service (704-332-8001), A Taxi (704-605-4334), Airport Taxi (704-393-7777), American Taxi Cab (704-375-1010), Cardinal Cab (704-332-0066).

Most bus routes start at the Transportation Center and go toward the suburbs like spokes on a wheel. Bus fare is $1.20 for a one-leg or two-leg trip, $1.65 for an express bus (these run mornings and evenings and go to an outlying area without stopping), and 50ยข for a shuttle. Allow 45 minutes for a one-leg trip, 2 hours for a two-leg trip. Also, be aware of the colorfully-painted buses in the suburbs that connect neighborhoods to primary routes