Capital Area Transit (Raleigh)

Infobox Bus transit
name =

logo_size = 160

image_size =
image_caption =
company_slogan =
parent =
founded =
headquarters = 1430 South Blount St.
locale = Raleigh, NC
service_area =
service_type = bus service
alliance =
routes = 37
destinations =
stops = 1700
hubs = Crabtree Valley Mall (Served by 6 Routes)
stations = 1 (Moore Square Transit Station)
lounge =
fleet =
ridership = 13,000
fuel_type = Biodiesel
operator = Veolia Transportation
ceo = Scott McClellan
website = [;/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Resident/Transportation/Cat-Index.html Welcome to Transit]
Raleigh CAT, or Capital Area Transit operates 37 public transit routes to serve the city of Raleigh, North Carolina.


Early days

Previous to the CAT system CP&L (Carolina Power & Light, now known as Progress Energy) provided public transit to the city, starting in 1886 with mule-drawn vehicles and covering routes in convert|1|sqmi|km2|0 of central Raleigh. In 1891, the mule-drawn service came to an end, and the electric street car service began. The street cars served several routes, covering about convert|2|sqmi|km2|0 of the city. Due to rapid advances in automotive technology at that time, in 1933 all electric street car services ended, replaced by gasoline-powered buses. Ridership remained strong until the 1950s, when the popularity of private vehicles began to reduce transit ridership nationwide.

* 1881-1894 - Raleigh Street Railway
* 1894-1908 - Raleigh Electric Co.
* 1908-1921 - Carolina Power & Light Co.
* 1921-1925 - Carolina Power & Light Co. (Electric Bond & Shares Co.)
* 1925-1946 - Carolina Power & Light Co. (National Power & Light Co.)
* 1930s - streetcars discontinued
* 1946-1950 - Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L).
* 1950-1958 - White Transportation Co.
* After 1958 - Raleigh City Coach Lines (City Coach Lines, Inc.)

Current system

In the mid- to late-20th century, CP&L ended its operation of transit services in the city, and the current publicly-owned CAT system was created. The city of Raleigh initially contracted with private companies to operate the system, however in the early 1990s the city took over its operation.

The Raleigh Trolley

The Raleigh Trolley was created to attract people to the restaurants and clubs in downtown Raleigh at night. The trolley line originally linked Moore Square/City Market area to the Glenwood South entertainment district, but the route was altered to link Moore Square with the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts after Progress Energy became a sponsor of the trolley service. In 2005, CAT purchased 2 new hybrid trolleys (first hybrid public transit vehicles ever to be used in North Carolina) to serve the current trolley route.

Routes and services


All CAT routes have a number and a name. A "c" added to the number denotes a connector route, and an "e" denotes an express route.

*1 Capital
*2 Falls of Neuse
*3 Glascock
*4 Rex Hospital
*5 Biltmore Hills
*6 Crabtree
*7 South Saunders
*7c Carolina Pines/Rush Street Crosstown Connector
*8 Northclift
*8c Sawmill Cat Connector
*10 Longview
*11 Avent Ferry
*12 Method
*13 Chavis Heights
*15 WakeMed
*15c Trawick Cat Connector
*16 Oberlin Rd.
*18 Worthdale
*19 Apollo Heights
*21 Caraleigh
*22 State Street
*23c Millbrook Crosstown Connector
*24c North Crosstown
*25c Triangle Town Center
*26c Early East
*27 Southeast
*28 Southwest
*29c North Night Connector
*30 Northeast
*31 New Hope Commons
*32 Sanderford Road
*33c Glenwood Creedmoor Connector
*34 WakeMed - Poole
*35 Poole Rd.
*36 Garner Station
*70e Brier Creek Express
*Showtime Trolley

Hours and levels of operation

CATs current service level is based upon year 2 of the 5 year plan.

CAT currently operates 37 public transit routes (CAT also operates the Historic Raleigh Trolley Tour, and provides the vehicles for Triangle Transits Wake Forest Express line). During regular service hours (5:30am-7:00pm Monday-Saturday) there are 18 routes that serve Moore Square bus terminal, 6 connector routes, which do not serve the downtown terminal, and one express route, which also does not serve the downtown terminal.

Additionally, CAT operates an evening trolley route, which operates Thursday-Saturday, 5:30pm - 11:30pm, and 11 routes that operate only during extended service hours.

During the hours of 4:30am-5:30am Monday-Saturday, 7:00pm-12:00am Monday-Saturday and 8:00am-8:00pm Sunday, the number of routes serving the city is reduced to anywhere from 5 to 17 routes depending on the day and time.

3 additional routes (1 serving downtown and 2 express from Park and Ride Lots) operate from 7:00am-12:00am during all the dates of the NC State Fair.

+ Some bus routes operate at a greater or lesser frequency during these times

++ Some bus routes operate at a greater frequency at these times. 70e does not operate during midday hours.

Because some bus routes are designed to serve areas unserved by the regular CAT bus routes, during extended hours (before 5:30am and after 7:00pm M-SA and all day SU), there is not any time during the day where all 37 bus routes operate. Some bus routes may only operate during Early Mornings ONLY (4:30am-5:30am), Evenings ONLY(7:00pm-12:00am), and/or Sundays ONLY. Note that a small portion of the regular 25 CAT bus routes DO operate during extended hours.

Five-year plan

In 2002, Capital Area Transit (CAT) spent $200,000 to hire consultants to come up with a five year plan to improve public transit in the City of Raleigh, NC. At that time, most bus schedules were 10 years out of date. It wasn't until fiscal year 2006 that the city council gave CAT the additional funding needed to begin implementing year one of a five year plan. At the start of the fiscal year 2007 the Raliegh City Council gave CAT the additional funding need for year two of the five year plan (which took effect on bus routes in January, 2007).

The city council gave CAT additional funding for year three of the five year plan for the fiscal year 2008 (July, 2007-June, 2008). Year three changes include an increase in frequencies on routes with high ridership (routes 1, 2, and 5), as well as extended bus service on Glenwood Avenue, and an additional bus line to service the southeast area of Raleigh. It has not been made public when year three changes will take effect. The city council gave CAT additional funding for 6 months of operation at year four of the five year plan for the fiscal year 2009 (July 2008-June, 2009), despite year 3 changes never being implemented. year 4 of the 5 year plan is "estimated to be implemented during the last quarter of FY 2009."

At the present time, CAT is burdened with a shortage of buses and an overcrowded garage. CAT currently operates out of a garage originally designed for a maximum of 56 buses, which had recently been modified to hold CAT’s 90 buses. In May 2008, the North Carolina Board of Transportation awarded CAT with $3.5 million for 13 additional buses and $2.8 million to purchase land and design a new administration building and garage.

In addition to planned changes in the five year plan, CAT is also expected to begin operation on a Downtown Raleigh Circulator. Additionally, CAT is expected to takeover a privately ran Wake Tech South Campus express line (funded by Wake Tech Community College) in January, 2009.


CAT is funded mostly by the City of Raleigh, with some additional funding (about $2 million) coming from the State and miscellaneous sources (such as grants and advertising). For FY 2009, CAT's operating budget is $15,957,644, a 19.9% increase from last fiscal years budget of $13,310,952. This is the fourth year in a row CAT has seen an increase in funding to meet the demands of the five year plan. The increase in funding comes 100% from the city.

CAT's estimated passenger revenue for FY 2009 is $3,018,228, or 22.7% of CAT's budget.


Ridership for the month of July, 2008 was 422,000. This is up 24% from July, 2007 and more than in any single month of ridership recorded by CAT in recent decades..

Comparitivley, in April, 2008 ridership was 317,000 (up 11% from April, 2007). CAT ridership, however, remains low in comparison to neighboring bus systems (at least according to April 2008 data); Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA), counted 418,000 riders, and Chapel Hill Transit, counted 621,000 passengers over the same period of time (April 2008).

According to the Raleigh City budget for the fiscal year 2008, the ridership levels average over 13,000 each business day, up from 11,000 in September, 2005 (when gas prices began to climb after Hurricane Katrina), and 8,000 in the year 2002.

Response to the threat of terrorism

There have been no serious terrorist threats or attacks on Raleigh public transit in the city's history, however, on May 4, 2007 a bomb threat was received at the CAT regional transit call center at about 9:00 am. Buses in the Triangle, including an estimated 55 CAT buses, were pulled over, evacuated, and searched. The caller indicated there was a bomb on an unspecified bus, although a Raleigh transit official said the caller mentioned numbers that did not match any CAT buses or routes. The bomb threat was cleared, but left buses operating after that time anywhere from 5-90 minutes behind schedule for the day.

Transit Watch is a new public awareness program launched by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in collaboration with the "Department of Homeland Security's" Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The program encourages people to be vigilant and watch for and report safety (e.g. strange smells, smoke, or other potential hazards) and/or security threats (such as abandoned bags or suspicious behavior) on public transit vehicles or public transit properties. The motto of this program is "If You See Something...Say Something." In early 2006 CAT joined the campaign.

Other transit services operating in Raleigh


ART, or Accessible Raleigh Transit, a subsidized taxicab program, serves residents living within 3/4 of a mile of a fixed bus route in the city that are unable to use the regular fixed-route service due to a disability.


[ C-Tran] provides paratransit service to residents of Cary traveling to Raleigh in addition to public transit routes and paratransit in Cary.

Durham Area Transit Authority

The Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) operates one route that extends to the Brier Creek area of northwest Raleigh, in addition to its many routes serving the city of Durham.

Triangle Transit

Triangle Transit (formerly the Triangle Transit Authority), is a regional transit service that connects Raleigh with neighboring cities, suburbs, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Research Triangle Park. Triangle Transit also organizes a vanpool program serving the Research Triangle metropolitan region.


The Wolfline operates nearly a dozen routes that serve the NCSU (North Carolina State University) community and surrounding areas in west Raleigh. In addition to serving NCSU students, faculty and staff, the Wolfline system is available for use by the general public.

Long Distance Transit Services

The city of Raleigh is served by Amtrak (rail service), RDU international Airport (air service), Carolina Trailways (bus service), Greyhound (bus service), [ Sky Express] (bus service, direct to China Town, NYC), [ Tornado] (bus service, targeting primarily the hispanic population), and [ Jacksonville Airporter, Inc] (bus service, between RDU and Jacksonville, NC)



* [;/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Resident/Transportation/Cat-Index.html Official site]
* [ GoTriangle]
* [ National Park Service]
* [ "Independent Weekly"]
* [ "Raleigh News & Observer"]


* [ Transit 5 year plan]
*City Budget FY 2007
*City Budget FY 2008
* City Budget FY 2009]


*Raleigh City Museum - History of Transportation in Raleigh

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