Regardless of LYNX’s standing in Charlotte society, we wanted to check it out. We parked the trusty Jaunted-mobile at a commuter lot on Tyvola Road—a good eight stops from the transportation hub at the city’s center. Buying our tickets at the automated machine was hassle-free, and soon we found ourselves on board. There’s no turnstiles or ticket takers, it’s based on the honor system. However, there’s the threat that someone could be checking, and they'll give you a $50 ticket right on the spot.
The cars were clean, modern, and seem to be well kept. Signs let us know that food and drinks were prohibited on board, along with the more traditional no-nos. Most stops feature public art installations. They range from mosaic tile displays covering the usual sterile cement to bronze sculptures that decorate stops in the South End. Touches like these help make it more than just a way to get around, especially for visitors like us.
We bought all day passes for $4.50 so we could come and go as we please, and jump back on after we got off at the wrong stop. On our ride into Uptown late in the afternoon it was easy to find a seat, so we were thinking that maybe the train was more of a novelty to residents than a necessity. However, on our return voyage to the park and ride station we saw a good deal of traffic on board, and unlike Phoenix riders, people here knew how to make room for more.
Although we didn’t need to take the LYNX, it was convenient, and it was fun. We treated it more as an attraction, so we can’t tell you that it brings needed transportation to the masses. However, there was a lot of construction near the stations. Townhomes, urban flats, and row houses were going up to take advantage of the cheap and accessible rides. If we lived in Charlotte we’d definitely be frequent travelers, and that's basically because it’s way cooler than the bus.