Public Transit

The Charlotte Area Transit System, commonly referred to as CATS, is the public transit system in Charlotte, North Carolina. It includes a bus system, light rail system, and a street car. You can use the Google Maps trip planner to determine which routes will get you to your destination. Fares vary, and can be checked here.


Charlotte has 42 local bus routes, 17 express routes, and multiple community shuttles. Buses typically arrive every 30 minutes, but you can check specific route schedules for exact times. Bus fare is typically $2.20, but you can check below for a full list of fares.

Light Rail

Charlotte’s Light Rail system is called LYNX (a reference to our football team The Panthers). The Light Rail is also called the Blue Line and runs from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, through uptown, towards South End and stops just short of Pineville. Future extensions are planned.

Street Car

Charlotte has its own streetcar, which runs 1.5 miles from the Elizabeth neighborhood to the uptown area. It is free of charge and runs 6 stops. It is called the Gold Line, and connects to the Charlotte Transit Center in uptown Charlotte, making bus transfers easy.

How much is the bus?
Adult Senior ADA K-12
One-Way $2.20 $1.10 $1.10 $1.10
Weekly Unlimited $30.80 $30.80 $30.80 $30.80
Monthly Unlimited $88.00 $44.00 $44.00
10-Ride Pass $22.00 $9.35 $9.35
How much is the Light Rail?
Adult Senior ADA K-12
One-Way $2.20 $1.10 $1.10 $1.10
Round Trip $4.40 $2.20 $2.20 $2.20
One-Day Unlimited $6.60 $6.60 $6.60  $6.60
Weekly Unlimited $30.80 $30.80 $30.80  $30.80
Monthly Unlimited $88.00 $44.00 $44.00
How much is the Street Car?

It’s free!

Check out these videos from the Charlotte Transit Authority to help get you started:

Recycling & Trash

Recycling and trash pickup is an available service to all residents of Charlotte, and most residents of Mecklenburg County. The City of Charlotte manages the collection of trash and recycling and Mecklenburg County processes the waste. To find your pick up date, you can put in your address here.


Garbage and yard waste are collected weekly, on your assigned day. If you aren’t sure, you can use the address search to find your day. All collection items need to be placed curbside no sooner than the day before your scheduled collection day and no later than 6:00 am day of collection.


Recycling is picked up every other week on your assigned day. This service is free for residents and a bin is provided. Mecklenburg County has a robust recycling program that ranks in the top 10 out of 100 Counties in N.C. for the successful recovery of recyclable materials per person.

Bulky Waste

Items such as household furnishings, appliances, mattresses, box springs, lawn equipment and similar items too large to be placed in the garbage rollout cart and not eligible for recycling or yard waste collection are considered bulky waste and must be scheduled for collection.

Trash Basics
  • All garbage is bagged and inside the trash bin.

  • Garbage outside the trash can will not be collected.

  • The garbage cart handle is facing the house and the lid is facing the street.

  • The garbage bin is 3 feet away from all other objects.
  • Garbage bin is not on the sidewalk.

Recycling Basics
  • Recyclables are loose in recycling bin.

  • Recyclables should not be in bags in the recycling bin.

  • No plastic bags, Styrofoam or plastic plates and cups are in the cart. Plastic bags aren’t accepted and should be recycled at local grocery stores. Styrofoam and plastic plates and cups should be thrown in the garbage.

  • Tear cardboard into small pieces that will fit loosely into your cart. Please do not fold.

  • The recycling bin is 3 feet away from all objects.

Bulky Pickup Basics
  • Bulky waste is placed within 6 feet of the curb and at least 3 feet away from other collection items and obstacles such as mailboxes, phone poles, vehicles, etc.

  • Do not put items curbside earlier than the day before the scheduled collection. Items at the curb more than 24 hours before the scheduled collection could result in a fine of at least $50.

  • All items must be free of food, clothing, trash and flammable materials such as gasoline.

  • Bulky waste is not in the rollout trash bin. Do not block the sidewalk.

  • Doors from refrigerators and rims from tires are removed.

Find out your trash & recycling pick up day


Charlotte’s public library system is called the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. It is one of America’s leading urban public libraries, serving a community of more than one million citizens in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It includes 20 locations, outreach, and a wide variety of online content. All of these services are available to you for free, if you live inside Mecklenburg County.

What can I do at the library?

How can I access the library?

Anyone who visits a library location can use our wifi, attend programs, or look at any of our books or magazines–for free. If you want to take materials home with you or access our online resources, you will need to get a library card, which is completely free of charge for Mecklenburg County residents. We have both regular library cards, which you can apply for by visiting a branch, and virtual library cards, which you can apply for completely online.

What You Need to Get a Library Card:

  • Proof of Address (Piece of mail, bill, lease, etc.)
  • Photo ID (Driver’s License, State ID, Passport)

Where is the library?

See a full list of locations and more information here.

Get a Library Card

Visit the library’s website to apply for a virtual library card, or find a branch close to you and apply for a library card in person.


The Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department is home to 210 parks and facilities located on more than 21,000+ acres of parkland throughout Mecklenburg County. Parks in Mecklenburg County come in all shapes and sizes ranging from small neighborhood parks to large district parks. Many parks have open space amidst shade trees and unique facilities.


The Mecklenburg County greenway system is quickly becoming one of the finest in the nation. Greenways are linear parks that connect people and places. Greenways are vegetated natural buffers that promote water quality, help reduce the impacts of flooding, and provide wildlife habitat. Greenway trails provide recreation, transportation, fitness, and economic benefits for all to enjoy. There are currently 49 miles of developed greenway trails in Mecklenburg County, with more being built every year.

See a full list of locations and more information here.

Parks & Facilities

Many parks have open space amidst shade trees and unique facilities. You may reserve a facility by calling 980-314-1000 or by using the online reservation system. You can see a full list of park locations here.

Events & Services

The Park and Recreation Department offers a variety of programs and services for families and those of all ages. Join us for fitness, sports, cultural arts, youth development and most of all……FUN. Come play with us today!


Charlotte Housing Authority

CHA is a Charlotte-based non-profit that works with connecting residents to affordable housing.

House Charlotte

The HouseCharlotte program provides 10-year, deferred, forgivable loans to qualified applicants. Funds can be used to cover downpayment, closing cost, and interest rate buy down.

Housing & Neighborhood Services

Housing & Neighborhood Services provides a wide array of programs and services for families residing in the City of Charlotte.


Mecklenburg County has over 200 public, magnet, charter, and private schools which serve over 200,000 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) operates the public schools, as well as several nontraditional schooling options. Within the city of Charlotte and the surrounding towns, there are many options for all ages. In addition, Charlotte is home to many universities and colleges.

CMS School Lottery Timeline


Apply to neighborhood school (this must be done before you apply for lottery)


Round I Lottery Application Due


Round II Lottery Application Due


Round III Lottery Application Due
CMS School Lottery

Each year new and current CMS families have an opportunity to apply for Magnet/Career & Technical Education (CTE) or other school option programs through the online school options lottery.   The online lottery application provides families with a list of their school options based on the student’s residential address.

E-Learning Academy

CMS offers an online homeschool program for grades 9-12. The CMS home school allows eligible students to learn from home while still participating in sports and clubs at their CMS home school.

Private Schools

The Charlotte Chamber has created a document that compiles all private schools in Charlotte, NC.


The Charlotte Home Educators Association (CHEA) is an association of Charlotte area support groups whose purpose is to promote better communication, support, fellowship, and unity among Charlotte homeschoolers.

Childcare Resources, Inc.

Child Care Resources Inc (“CCRI”) is the go-to source for early care and education in Mecklenburg County. They help to ensure that all young children – particularly those at educational risk – have the kinds of early learning experience that promote school and lifelong success.

Smart Start

Smart Start is a nationally recognized early childhood education initiative in partnership with Mecklenburg County to expand and improve services for children ages birth to five and their families. The website has a list of high quality early childcare and pre-k programs available to low income families.

About CMS

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is located in the Charlotte, North Carolina region and provides academic instruction, rigor and support each school day to more than 146,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in 170​ schools throughout the cities and towns of Mecklenburg County.


Charlotte has various affordable pre-k programs available to low-income working families. If a family meets the eligibility criteria, the state of North Carolina provides access to pre-k programs that focus on academic, person, and interpersonal experiences that are essential to a child’s education.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNCC is North Carolina's urban research university, located in Northeast Charlotte.

The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. The Charlotte campus is accessible by light rail.

Queens University

Queens University is a small, private, co-ed, masters-level university.

Located in the historic Myers Park neighborhood, Queens University has a beautiful campus just minutes from uptown Charlotte.

Central Piedmont Community College

This large community college system has more than 6 campuses throughout Mecklenburg County.

CPCC has been a part of the Charlotte landscape for over 50 years. Offering a wide range of classes, programs, and locations, CPCC has something for everyone.

Johnson C. Smith University

JCSU is a private liberal arts university with proud traditions and a future aimed at diversity.

Approximately 1,600 highly talented and motivated students from various backgrounds attend each year. The faculty and staff members are equally as unique, coming from all over the world.