CAT Freedom is a program from Chatham Area Transit that helps increase mobility options for the citizens of Chatham County and removes the barriers that prevent riders from moving freely within the County. Several initiatives fall under the CAT Freedom program currently, including (but not limited to) the following:
Wheelchair-accessible taxis can be very expensive, so CAT has purchased three wheelchair-accessible vans to lease to a taxi company in the County. After a thorough RFP process, Yellow Cab has been selected as the CAT Freedom taxi company, effective August 2014, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them.
2. The CAT Freedom Voucher Program
CAT Freedom is proud to introduce a Voucher Program, which enables eligible Chatham County residents to purchase a select amount of cab fare payment vouchers at a 50% discount to increase their flexibility and mobility options.
Each CAT Freedom book costs $10, but has a value of $20 in vouchers that may be used for this program. These vouchers work the same as cash, and can be used only with our provider for travel anywhere in Chatham County.
The CAT Freedom book contains 20 individual vouchers at a value of $1 each. Eligible residents of the County may purchase a maximum of five (5) CAT Freedom books each month. Vouchers expire 1 year from the time of purchase.
Those eligible for this program include residents of Chatham County that are either 1. Certified by CAT to ride – using the same requirements as the paratransit services (without any geographic limitations) and/or 2. Any persons aged 65 or older (proof required by Medicare Card, Driver’s License, or State ID).
Download the CAT Freedom application (pdf) here.
How the Voucher Program Works
Enrolled participants are able to buy a CAT Freedom book comprised of twenty $1 vouchers from CAT (valued at $20 at a cost of only $10). These subsidized vouchers work the same as cash and are for use with a regular metered fare when riding with the operator of our CAT Freedom Services.
How to Purchase Vouchers:
Enrolled participants can order books of vouchers by completing the order form included in the enrollment packet and mailing the form with a Money Order or Check (Bank, Cashier, Personal) payable to “Chatham Area Transit.” Once we receive the order and payment clears, the vouchers will be mailed to the address listed on the order form, along with a new order form. If personal checks are returned as insufficient funds, no future checks will be accepted. Additionally, cash will be accepted as a valid form of payment when paying in person at the CAT offices.
To arrange a trip, participants must call CAT Freedom at 912-629-3940 to make their reservation. The participant should let the provider, currently Yellow Cab, know that this is a CAT Freedom voucher trip in advance and provide as much detail as possible, e.g., physical assistance required, any special accommodations needed, if wheelchair/walker/scooter transport or guide dog transport is needed.
Personal Care Attendants:
A personal care attendant may ride for free with an individual who requires assistance. The attendant must start and end the ride with the voucher holder. Only the certified rider may possess and use the taxi vouchers; attendants cannot under any circumstances use the vouchers.
Late Cancellations and No Shows:
It is the responsibility of the participant to inform the provider of any cancellations or schedule changes. Please note that Yellow Cab may choose not to allow service to people with histories of late cancellations or “no-shows.”
Participants have a right to expect reasonably prompt and reliable service from Yellow Cab and should request an estimated arrival time. If the cab fails to show up, participants should contact CAT’s customer service Ride Line at 912-233-5767 to file a complaint or to give other customer feedback. Participation in the Voucher Program is purely voluntary.
Fare and Mileage Limitations:
CAT Freedom is a fare-based program and has no mileage limitations (provided that you remain within Chatham County). If the fare for a one-way trip exceeds the face value of the submitted vouchers, then the participant pays the remaining fare in cash. No “change” will be given for vouchers submitted over the price of the metered trip. The vouchers have no “cash” value and no monies will be reimbursed. The participant will be expected to pay the full fare in cash if they are unable to provide the driver with valid, unexpired vouchers for the metered amount of the trip.
Participants must sign and date the voucher(s) in the presence of the taxi cab driver. The driver will then counter-sign the voucher in order to submit it for reimbursement.
Tipping the Driver:
It is common practice to tip taxi drivers. The amount depends on the passengers’ satisfaction, but a common gratuity amount is typically between 10-20% of the metered fare. Please note that vouchers may not be used to cover the driver’s tip.
Participant Code of Ethics and Responsibility:
Participants shall behave courteously and respectfully at all times. Abusive language, profanity (either in language or gestures), disorderly conduct, or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Users exhibiting inappropriate behavior may lose the right to participate in the CAT Freedom Travel Voucher Program. Should a conflict arise between a participant and driver and/or provider, it is CAT’s responsibility to mediate. Please contact CAT Customer Service at 912-233-5767 with any concerns or issues of this nature. Participation in the Voucher Program is purely voluntary.
Participants or providers who engage in program violations such as (but not limited to) altering vouchers, using expired vouchers, refusal to pay participant’s share of the fare, using someone else’s vouchers, or giving or selling or trading vouchers, may lose the right to participate in the CAT Freedom Voucher Program.