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For the bus system in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, see Capital Area Transit (Harrisburg).
GoRaleigh (formerly Capital Area Transit)
CAT Raleigh logo.png
Headquarters 4104 Poole Rd.
Locale Raleigh, NC
Service type bus service
Alliance Raleigh Transit Authority
Routes 43

1500 total stops 72 stops with a shelter, or a plan to add a shelter (all shelters contain a bench)

324 stops with a bench, or a plan to add a bench (number accounts only for stops with a bench without a shelter)
Hubs Crabtree Valley Mall (Served by 6 Routes)
Stations 1 (Moore Square Transit Station)
Fleet 98
Daily ridership 14,000 average weekday [1]
Fuel type Diesel and Biodiesel
Operator Veolia Transportation
Chief executive Jim Cromer
Website Welcome to Transit

GoRaleigh (formerly Raleigh CAT, or Capital Area Transit) operates 43 public transit routes to serve the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. CAT was rebranded in 2015 under the consolidated GoTransit branding scheme for the Research Triangle.


Early days[edit]

Previous to the GoRaleigh 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 1 square mile (3 km2) of central Raleigh. In 1891, the mule-drawn service came to an end, and the electric streetcar service began. The streetcars served several routes, covering about 2 square miles (5 km2) of the city. Due to rapid advances in automotive technology at that time, in 1933 all electric streetcar 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[edit]

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 Raleigh Trolley[edit]

The Raleigh Trolley was created to attract people to the restaurants and clubs in downtown Raleigh at night. Using trolley-replica buses, the service 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 trolley route. The Raleigh Trolley was quietly phased out,[2] first serviced with regular CAT buses rather the trolley-replica buses, and then completely ended when the R-Line began service on February 13, 2009. Raleigh Parks and Recreation has Historic Raleigh Trolley Tours every Saturday in March through December. These tours depart from Mordecai Historic Park http://www.raleighnc.gov/mordecai.

The R-Line[edit]

See main article R-Line (Capital Area Transit).

The R-Line - created to connect business in Downtown Raleigh with residents, employees, and visitors - began service on February 13, 2009. The route is served by three specially designed Hybrid-Electric buses, powered by bio-diesel fuel. The buses, operating in a counter-clockwise loop, stop at 20 specially designed bus-stops throughout Downtown Raleigh. Service frequency is every 12 minutes. In order to maximize frequency two buses operate on the circulator route at all times, while one bus serves as back-up in the event of mechanical failure.

Routes and services[edit]

CAT Bus Route #4 Rex Hospital at a bus stop on Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh

Hours and levels of operation[edit]

GoRaleigh's current service level is based upon year 2 of the 5-year plan.

GoRaleigh currently operates 43 public transit routes (GoRaleigh also provides the vehicles for the Wake Forest Express, Zebulon - Wendell Express and Knightdale Express lines of GoTransit). During regular service hours (5:30 am – 7:00 pm Monday-Saturday) there are eighteen routes that serve Moore Square Transit Station, seven connector routes, which do not serve Moore Square Transit Station, and two express routes, one of which serves Moore Square Transit Station. GoRaleigh also operates the Wake Forest Loop route and the R-Line.

During the hours of 4:30 am – 5:30 am Monday-Saturday, 7:00 pm – midnight Monday-Saturday and 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Sunday, the number of routes serving the city is reduced to a total of five to eighteen routes depending on the day and time.

Three additional routes (one serving downtown and two express from Park and Ride Lots) operate from 7:00 am to midnight during all the dates of the NC State Fair.

4:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. 7 p.m. – midnight
Weekdays 30 minutes+ 60 minutes++ 30 minutes+ 60 minutes
Saturday 60 minutes++ 60 minutes++ 60 minutes++ 60 minutes
8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday 60 minutes
Monday–Wednesday 7 a.m – 11 p.m. Thursday–Saturday 7 a.m. – 2:15 am. Sunday 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The R-Line 12 minutes 12 minutes 12 minutes
7:00 am – midnight
State Fair 20–30 minutes

+ Some bus routes operate more or less frequently during these times

++ Some bus routes operate more frequently during these times. Route 70e is designed as a job access route and operates from approximately 6:15 – 9:15 a.m., 3:10 – 6:10 p.m. and 7:30 – 10:30 p.m.)

Some bus routes are combined and have their own name/number during extended hours (before 5:30 am and after 7:00 pm Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday), there is no time during the day where all 43 bus routes operate simultaneously. Some bus routes may only operate during early mornings only (4:30 am – 5:30 am), evenings only (7:00 pm – midnight), and/or Sundays only. Only a portion of the regular 27 CAT bus routes operate during extended hours.

Five-year plan[edit]

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, Raleigh 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).

Despite the city budget providing CAT additional funding for year three of the five-year plan for the fiscal year 2008 (July 2007-June 2008) and additional funding for year four of the five-year plan for the last quarter of the fiscal year 2009,[3] these changes were never implemented because tax revenues have been lower than expected and the funds were not available.

The current city budget, for the fiscal year 2010 notes that "The FY 2010 budget represents the implementation of delayed transit services from last year... year three of the Transit Plan will begin January 2010 and will result in reduced headways on Route 15 Wake Med, a new route in Southeast Raleigh, and a series of other small service changes." [1] However, the implementation of these changes continues to be delayed due to budget shortfalls.

In May 2008, the North Carolina Board of Transportation awarded CAT with $3.5 million for 13 additional buses (which CAT received in June, 2009) and $2.8 million to purchase land and design a new administration building and garage, which is now located on 23 acres (93,000 m2) off of Poole Road. Additionally, $7.6 million of stimulus money has been awarded to CAT towards the garage. In May 2011, the new facility was opened.[4]


For FY 2010, CAT's operating budget is $15,439,636, a 1% decrease from last fiscal years budget of $15,596,444. This ends a four-year streak in which CAT had seen an increase in funding to meet the demands of the five-year plan. Of CATs budget, $10,369,966 is from the city, with additional funding coming from the state, passenger Revenue (estimated farebox revenue for FY 2010 is $2,480,623, but it is unclear whether this includes bus pass sales or GoPass contracts, as in past city budgets this was seperted), and miscellaneous sources (such as grants and advertising).


According to the Raleigh City budget for the fiscal year 2010 ridership levels average over 14,000 each business day, up from 13,000 for the fiscal year of 2008, 11,000 in September 2005 (when gas prices began to climb after Hurricane Katrina), and 8,000 in the year 2002.[5]

Response to the threat of terrorism[edit]

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 to 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[edit]

Accessible Raleigh Transportation[edit]

Accessible Raleigh Transportation (ART), is the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated service that complements fixed route transit service. It serves residents living within 3/4 of a mile of a fixed bus route who are unable to use regular transit service due to a disability.


C-Tran provides one route that connects downtown Cary with western portions of Raleigh also served by a CAT bus route. Additionally, C-Tran provides paratransit service to residents of Cary traveling to Raleigh as well as public transit routes and paratransit in Cary.

Durham Area Transit Authority[edit]

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[edit]

GoTransit (formerly Triangle Transit or 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.


Main article: Wolfline

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[edit]

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)





  • Raleigh City Museum - History of Transportation in Raleigh