CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The interim CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System said that some workers on the city’s light rail system will have to take part in mandatory overtime, as a result of staffing issues.
In a committee meeting that also involved several Charlotte City Council members, interim CEO Brent Cagle said that came as a result of a surprise state inspection and news that only one person was inside the Rail Operations Control Center over the weekend.
The Rail Operations Control Center, otherwise known as ‘The ROCC’, serves as a brain center for the city’s rail system. Cagle told city leaders that there needs to be at least two people there at all times and, ideally, three people total.
Cagle noted staffing issues, and the need to keep that two-person minimum at the ROCC, as the reason for the mandatory overtime.
Cagle also revealed that the issues also showed up with a surprise North Carolina Department of Transportation inspection on Friday.
“This speaks to time being of the essence,” said Charlotte City Councilwoman Reneé Johnson, in response to what Cagle had said.
The CATS light rail system has come under some increased scrutiny after a 2022 derailment on the system was not revealed until just last month.
Cagle noted that changes are either in place or coming to the overall culture of the public transportation system’s inner workings, but noted it will take some time.
As for the mandatory overtime issue among rail controllers, Cagle said he expects that to continue for months.
“We do believe, even with aggressive recruiting, it’ll take between three and six months to get adequate staffing,” Cagle said.
“This confirms the need for a third-party review to take a look at all the operations,” said Councilwoman Johnson. “We don’t know what we don’t know.”