Three words about Charlotte’s new light rail system: I love it! I went out yesterday (Saturday) to road-test it from a moms point of view. For all the stay-at-home moms that want to bring thier kids downtown (Discovery Place, Imaginon, etc) during the week, this is a great solution because parking is expensive and hard to find on weekdays. I think Discovery Place is $8 to park! For both working and stay-at-home moms coming to downtown on the weekends it is equally easy and a very good value. Plus. there is the excitement factor for kids getting to ride on a “real train”! I set out to see how easy it is, how long it took to ride and how it was with a child in tow.
I live in the SouthPark area so I decided to head over to the Tyvola stop. (The whole way Claire was excited about the fact were were going to ride on a TRAIN!) It is located just off South Blvd at Tyvola, even if you do not know where, once you are at the intersection you can see it.
Arriving at the Station
Parking was easy and we took the elevator up to the platform. I knew I needed to buy a ticket for me ($1.30 each way) and that Claire rides free (under 46″ ride free). So I put two $1 bills in the machine and it gave me a one way ticket and 70 cents change. (Click here for more on costs). We were lucky because a train came immediately so we hopped right on (doors stay open for 30 seconds). Is it stroller-friendly? Yes. I had Claire in her stroller and was able to wheel her right on. There are no steps, the platform and train floor are exact same height and not much gap between them at all. I doubt you could even get a foot down there. I do wish they had more open areas for the stroller, but I found a space.
On The Train
The train was packed and I quickly realized that it was because of the Duke/Davidson game at Bobcats arena. We made room for Claire’s stoller and I found a seat. It was 10:26am. Claire was a little grumpy but still enjoyed the ride. The train was super-clean and the people were all very normal looking. There were even lots of other kids. The train goes pretty fast, between stations it went way faster than car traffic on South Blvd.
Getting Off the Train
We got off the train at 10:43am. So it was an 17 minute trip. Not bad! They give you plenty of warning about what stop is approaching and all the stops are well signed. We got off at 7th Street Station but I realized later I should have gotten off at the arena stop, it would have been a shorter walk.
We Saw the Bears
Last week I posted about The Bears In Founders Hall. It was an easy walk. We made the 11am show (it is free) and Claire loved it again. There were TONS of kids there which was really fun to watch.
Back on The Train
Going back we walked to the Arena station which was closer (if you go to a Bobcats game you should try this, the station is literally right next to the arena, very cool.). We got there and bought our ticket, $1.30 again (a full day pass is $4 but if you just want one round trip you are better off doing one ticket each way). We must have just missed the train because we had to wait another 14 minutes for the next one. But it was OK because we got to watch the trains go by going the other way and Claire loved waving at the trains. We got on our train at 12:13pm and I logged all the stops:
12:13 – Our train left arena station
12:14 – Stop at 3rd Street station
12:16 – Stop at Stonewall station
12:18 – Stop at Carson station
12:19 – Stop at Bland Station
12:20 – Stop at East/West Blvd Station
12:22 – Stop at New Bern Station
12:24 – Stop at Scaleybark Station
12:26 – Stop at Woodlawn Station
12:28 – Get off at Tylova Station
So, a 15 minute ride home. We get off, went to our car and home we go! The Lynx has a good website for any questions you have. Here are some of the basics:
There is nothing keeping a child from jumping down on the tracks, it’s only a few feet but would scare the crap out of you if a train is coming (for good reason). I recommend toddlers be in strollers and you should hold on tight to the other kids. If you have too many kids to hold (like Jen P) or if you kids tend to run away from you to give you a heart attack, this might not be for you.
Click here to see where the train goes. It goes from 485/South Blvd to heart of downtown.
Click here, basically it’s $1.30 each way and young kids ride free. Click here to see how the ticket machine works so you now what to expect. Oh, and they ONLY take cash right now! Try to have $1 dollar bills or coins, if you put in a $20 you get a whole bunch of dollar coins as change.
SCHEDULE (Click here to see it)
–Seven days a week from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
-Every 7.5 minutes during weekday rush hour
-Every 15 minutes during non-peak hours.
-Every 30 minutes weekday evenings
-Every 20 minutes during the day
-Every 30 minutes during late night hours
Have you riden the Lynx? Share your tips and experiences for moms!!