Buses to and from Charlotte Airport (CLT)

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is one of the largest airports in the state of North Carolina, and in the whole country of the United States of America. It is known by its official name, and by its IATA code of CLT. The airport is quite close to the city of Charlotte, and to the areas of Dixie-Berryhill, Eagle Lake and Pawtuckett. Arriving and departing passengers can travel to or from the airport by bus or taxi, however, buses offer a much cheaper service. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport buses are also available at frequent intervals from a convenient location outside of the terminal building.

There are five concourses at the airport, and one main terminal building. A new international terminal will also begin construction this year (2012). Currently all international flights (apart from those arriving from airports that have pre-clearance facilities) make use of Concourse D, and Concourse E is the main base for US Airways’ domestic flights. Charlotte Douglas Airport is a the largest hub for US Airways. The other concourses are used for domestic flights operated by other airline companies, although US Airways is also present at Concourses B and C. From the main terminal building, passengers have access to the ground transportation level of the airport. Transport is offered in the form of public buses, private shuttles and hotel shuttles. Taxis are also available from outside the baggage claim area.

Hotel and Private Shuttle Bus Services

Hotel and private shuttles will require an advanced reservation. The specific company or hotel is best to contact for further information. The private shuttles available offer transport to a wide number of nearby locations, and include Affordable Charlotte Shuttle (704-238-3204), Ambitious Transportation and Shuttle (704-999-6781), CLT Express Livery (704-825-0666), Lake Norman Shuttle (704-663-6662), Bush Custom Transportation Services (704-394-3337), Carolina Transportation Service (704-905-1030), Columbia Charlotte Shuttle, Inc. (803-783-5123) and Masters Transportation (704-618-1259). By contacting the telephone numbers mentioned for each company, passengers arriving at the airport can find out more information relating to the cost of the shuttles and their destinations. Departing passengers can also travel to the airport by private shuttle. A list of the transportation companies licensed to collect passengers from Charlotte Douglas Airport can be seen on the Visitor Information Boards on the baggage claim level.

The hotels in the area of the airport often provide shuttles for their guests, and their shuttles are also free of charge. Always ask for transportation if needed when booking a hotel room.

Public Buses

CATS is the company that provides public transport in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. The company’s full name is Charlotte Area Transit System, and CATS is therefore the acronym used. There is a public bus that serves the airport referred to as the CATS’ Sprinter Enhanced Bus Service, and it connects the airport to downtown Charlotte, seven days a week. The bus service was formerly known as the ‘Route 5-Airport’. Arriving passengers will find the Sprinter buses in front of Zone D Baggage Claim in the commercial lanes. The buses also drop-off passengers at this area of the terminal. Sprinter buses are available every twenty minutes from 05:50am to 07:00pm on weekdays, and every thirty minutes after 07:00pm to 12:02am, Monday to Friday. The buses are also available on weekends. They depart every hour on Saturdays and Sundays from 06:00am to 08:00am, and every half an hour from 08:00am to 09:00pm. After 09:00pm they are again available hourly, until 01:00am. It will take approximately twenty minutes to reach downtown Charlotte by bus, depending on the traffic conditions. During rush hour traffic, travel time is obviously longer.

Passengers will find the public buses to be very cost efficient, as a one-way trip is only $1.75. The same amount is valid for all other local buses operated by CATS. The ticket is valid for ninety minutes, and free transfers are allowed onto other routes. However, further payment is required if transferring from a local bus to an Express Route or other higher fare service. The airport bus has a number of convenient stop locations, including the Gateway Village and Trade and Tryon streets. In the city passengers can also make an easy connection to other CATS routes, including the LYNX Blue Line, which is their railway service. In general, blue is the colour used to represent the rail line of the city, red is used for express bus routes and green indicates all local and neighbourhood shuttles.

Within the city of Charlotte there are a few main transportation centres, of which the Charlotte Transportation Centre is the largest connecting hub for CATS bus and rail routes. Additional centres include the Eastland Community Transit Centre, the SouthPark Community Transit Centre and the Rosa Parks Place Community Transit Centre. The SouthPark Centre is found in one of the largest shopping malls of the region, and was the first community transit centre to open. Most of the centres offer attractive and weather-protected passenger waiting areas, on-site surveillance and displays for bus route and schedule information. CATS has a large number of Park and Ride lots as well, for example, the Abbey Plaza Shopping Centre, Big Lots, Calvary Church, Carolina Place Mall, Cheddar’s Café, Cornelius Town Hall, Coulwood Shopping Centre and the Gastonia Transit Centre.

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport buses will take the exact fare or a CATS pass. They are also accessible to disabled passengers as they are equipped with low floors, ramps, lifts or kneeling capacity. Special transport services (STS) could also be arranged. Further details are available from the official CATS website at http://www.ridetransit.org.