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CAT increasing safety measures as pandemic continues Banner

CAT increasing safety measures as pandemic continues

When Sunday service bus is suspended in November, Chatham Area Transit will take advantage of the off-road time by spending the day deep cleaning and sanitizing its buses in a continued effort to keep passengers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sundays have consistently been CAT’s lowest ridership day and ridership has dropped even more as a result of in-person church services being suspended due to the pandemic.

While the service suspension will unfortunately still impact some riders, it is necessary to meet the financial challenges that CAT is facing along with transit systems throughout the country, as revenues drop and expenses increase, said CEO Bacarra Mauldin.

“The suspension provides an opportunity for a reset day and the enhanced cleanings, as CAT strives to ensure the safety of riders and employees,” Mauldin said.

Additional safety measures that will continue include the nightly cleaning of each bus in accordance with established protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19. This process includes doubling the bleach content of cleaning products, as well as using Vital Oxide, a sanitizing fog sprayed throughout the vehicles and ferry boats. Hand sanitizer dispensers also have been set up at CAT facilities for employees and customers.

CAT is also installing tempered glass barriers to protect the bus operators from potential exposure. Once these barriers are installed, CAT intends to resume charging fares to ride the buses. CAT suspended fare collection in March to allow for rear-door boarding and minimize exposure between passengers and operators. Currently, CAT anticipates resuming fare collection in December.

In addition, CAT plans to implement mobile ticketing services early next year, which will allow customers to purchase bus passes with their smart phones. While initially conceived as a way to make public transit more user-friendly, mobile ticketing will also help keep users safe by allowing customers to simply show operators their phone to board and avoid contact with the fare box.

CAT also continues to strongly encourage customers to wear masks while riding.