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Passengers with Disabilities
CAT is an essential part of Chatham County, and making our transportation system accessible to all of the residents and visitors here is a key part of our commitment to you. In order to make it easy for passengers with disabilities to get where they need to go, our system includes:
- Standard buses and streetcars equipped with accessibility devices.
- Paratransit service for eligible customers.
- The ability to make alternate formats of our documents available upon request, thanks to community partners. Such formats can include large print, Braille, and audio recording. Click here to email your request.
- A Half-Fare Program for our eligible riders with disabilities and elderly customers. Click on the link to visit our Fares & Passes section to learn more about half-fare eligibility.
Accessible Fixed Route & Paratransit Services
All CAT fixed route vehicles contain features and equipment that allow riders with disabilities to board, ride, and get out of vehicles easily and comfortably. The River Street streetcar is also accessible to riders with disabilities.
- Capability to “kneel,” or tilt, the front of the bus closer to the curb
- Ramps that fold out to make a bridge between the bus and the curb
- Areas where wheelchairs can be secured
- Priority seating areas (see below)
- Automated announcement system for calling out bus stops, destinations, and route connections
- Permission to bring service animals on board
In addition to our regular buses, CAT provides paratransit service to individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route bus service as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. This paratransit service is a shared ride, door-to-door, advanced reservation transportation service. Read more about it and how you can apply on our Paratransit page.
How to Ride with a Disability
- Wait for the bus at an official CAT bus stop (designated by a green bus stop sign, historic orange standard, or orange band painted around a utility pole). Please arrive about 10 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- The operator will pull the bus in close to the curb. When the doors of the bus open, a recording will announce the route number and destination of the bus.
- Board the bus. Please note that you can request the operator to “kneel” (tilt) the bus or to put down the ramp for easier boarding.
- Pay your fare. Passengers with disabilities may qualify for reduced or free fares. Visit our Half-Fare Program page for more details.
- If you are not in a wheelchair, choose a seat. Passengers with disabilities are welcome to use the priority seating area in the front of the bus. For more information on priority seating, read the section about it below.
- If you are in a wheelchair, the operator will secure it to prevent it from moving when the bus is in motion. Seats in the front of the bus behind the driver fold up to make room for this tie-down area. The operator will assist you before other passengers can get on board.
- You may wish to tell the driver your destination so you can be sure to get to where you’re going without any problems. An automated recording will announce stops and transfer points.
- As the bus is approaching your desired stop, pull on the pull cord.
- At your stop, the operator will pull in close to the curb so you can exit. Just as when you got on board, the bus driver will “kneel” or tilt the bus and will put down the ramp for you if necessary. If you need help getting out of the bus, please let the operator know and he or she will be happy to assist you.
Priority Seating Areas
CAT buses contain an area near the front of the vehicle that is marked as “Priority Seating” for senior citizens, pregnant women, and passengers with disabilities. If you are one of these types of riders, you have priority over other passengers to sit in this area.
If all the seats in the priority seating area are taken, you may ask another passenger to offer you a seat or ask the operator to make the request for you. Keep in mind, however, that operators can only ask. They cannot force anyone to give up a seat. The reason for this policy is because a passenger may actually have a disability that is not visible, and asking anyone to prove a disability would violate their privacy.
We at CAT ask that any of our customers who are not disabled, especially those in a priority seating area, please be courteous and offer their seat to a passenger who might need it. We know our customers to be extremely thoughtful and considerate, and we thank you.