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As part of our dedication to serving the public, CAT purchases environmentally-friendly equipment and adopts initiatives and programs that help us reduce our environmental impact on our city, our region, and our planet. Below are some recent examples of how CAT is going green.
Fuel Savings and Decreased Vehicle Emissions
- All of CAT’s fixed route buses operate on bio-diesel, and we currently use twenty-five hybrid bio-diesel buses. These hybrids get better mileage because the buses are assisted by the battery when traveling at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. The bio-diesel doesn’t fully kick in until after 35 miles per hour, greatly reducing the burning of fuel.
- Buses that sit idle with their engines running waste fuel and release unnecessary emissions. CAT has trained all of our drivers in an idle reduction program and has incorporated this program into all new driver training. We estimate that the idle reduction program has led to a 12% decrease in fuel consumed per passenger-mile on standard buses and a 4% decrease in fuel consumed per passenger-mile on paratransit buses.
- All new buses brought into the CAT system use particulate traps, which reduce noxious gases.
- A number of improved preventative maintenance procedures have reduced fuel consumption of our bus fleet.
- All buses run on 5% biodiesel, a healthier alternative than classic bus fuel.
- The soaps we use to clean our buses are biodegradeable and environmentally safe.
Improving Resource Efficiency
CAT has acquired smaller vehicles to use on routes with low ridership in an effort to improve resource efficiency without cutting service. Meet the CAT CUB!
- Routes such as the former 13 Coffee Bluff and the 20 Montgomery/Skidaway Island historically carried less than 20,000 passenger trips per year combined. They consistently held the bottom two slots in performance regarding number of passengers carried per hour.
- In 2010, a Comprehensive Operational Analysis was conducted by transit officials that recommended the elimination of Routes 13 and 20.
- CAT, however, recognized that the passengers utilizing those routes were entitled to some level of service, and minor adjustments to service on those routes were implemented.
- These routes continued to operate in a loss of revenue through 2013.
Introduce a viable option to continue service yet provide more efficiency on these routes: smaller vehicles.
- The CUBs went into use on the merged Route 20 Skidaway Island/Coffee Bluff in 2013.
- Passengers still receive transit service in limited ridership areas, and larger buses are freed up to be directed to areas with higher service needs.
- CAT more efficiently uses vehicle resources, consumes less fuel, and continues to serve the community.
- The CAT CUB comfortably seats 14 passengers and 2 wheelchairs.
Making Meetings Paperless
In a News Brief from Intelligent Meeting Management (IQM2) in July 2012, Erin Kennedy issued the following release:
“IQM2, Inc. announced today that Chatham Area Transit (CAT) in Savannah, GA, has joined IQM2’s rapidly growing special district client base. CAT will be using the IQM2 Open Meeting Automation platform to drive meeting efficiency, cost savings, and citizen awareness.”
Here at CAT, we view our commitment to the sustainability of our community and the goal of making Chatham County the greenest in Georgia as both an opportunity and an honor. Hosting paperless Board Meetings is merely another step along our path to that goal.
To learn more about our Board Meetings, including schedule, Board Members, and past meeting minutes, go to the Board of Directors section of our website.
Signing the APTA Sustainability Commitment
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is steadfastly encouraging its members in the public transportation industry across the nation to join them in pursuing a commitment of sustainability.
As an active member of APTA, Chatham Area Transit proudly joins the ranks of other American public transportation agencies in signing the APTA Sustainability Commitment (click to view pdf in a separate window). As a first step, CAT is affirming its stand to make sustainability a part of the organization’s strategic objectives and establish a baseline measurement for water usage, air pollutants/emissions, energy use and recycling levels.
CAT aims to foster development of a sustainable transportation system designed to meet the needs of people, organizations and businesses, as well as promote the ecological, economic and social well-being of the Chatham County region and beyond.
Larry Miles, Chair of the Chatham Environmental Forum (CEF) said, “I commend Chatham Area Transit for the environmental leadership they continue to demonstrate through their recent commitment to adhere to the core principles of the APTA Sustainability Commitment. CAT was previously instrumental in helping the CEF in the development of the transportation goals outlined in the Chatham County JoINChatham plan. The JoINChatham plan, developed by the CEF and adopted by the Chatham County Commission in 2009, has the stated goal of making Chatham County the ‘greenest county in Georgia.’ Many of the APTA core principles CAT is adopting directly support the goals outlined in the JoINChatham Plan and will help ensure Chatham County becomes the Greenest County in Georgia.”
Visit the JoINChatham website to learn more.