These are my opinions as a regular rider, living in Raleigh without a car.
-Most CAT bus routes operate at low frequencies, leaving riders with waiting times of up to an hour.
-A late bus is not uncommon. My guess would be maybe 1 in 4 or 5 busses is over 5 minutes behind schedule. Sometimes this is due to poor schedule planning, sometimes this is due to mechanical problems, and often it is simply due to undisciplined drivers who seem not to care.
-The bus routes often travel in circles, or deviate from the main roads. Because the routes are not very direct, they waste a lot of time. For example to go outside the beltline on New Bern Avenue from Downtown you need to switch busses at Wake Medical, despite this being a major street and a distance of under five miles.
-At evenings and Sundays many bus routes are combined meaning riders have to sit through big loops, and much of the city isn't covered at these times. Also, on evenings and Sundays all routes are scheduled to leave the bus terminal on the hour, and complete there route within an hour. This often results in late busses, and waiting an extra hour downtown due to a missed connection.
However, there are some good aspects to CAT:
-If you are fortunate enough to be in an area with multiple bus routes not to far from downtown (Downtown, NCSU, Crabtree Valley mall, etc.) the service is more than decent.
-The busses do cover most of Raleigh, with the exception to the Leesville area and some of the area outside of I-540.
-The fare is reasonable. Many even ride for free (State Govt. Employees, City Employees, Wake County Employees, NCSU students, and a few others).
-The city and CAT management have made some major improvements in the past few years, and seem dedicated to improve service, they just need a substantial investment in additional vehicles and increased budget.
-Most drivers and riders are friendly.