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CAT limiting bus capacity to 50-percent in response to COVID-19
Posted on March 30, 2020
As part of the precautionary measures being taken in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Chatham Area Transit is running buses at 50-percent of their capacity to allow passengers more room to spread out and adhere to the “social distancing” requirements.
While CAT is operating on a limited basis, residents also are urged to only use bus services for essential trips such as getting to and from medical appointments, grocery stores and work. These limits are in place in adherence with the city of Savannah and Chatham County’s emergency declarations prohibiting the participation in of non-essential activities.
CAT’s reduced capacity measure was implemented in conjunction with the service reductions that went into effect last week, following a sharp decline in ridership and in the wake of local “shelter in place” orders throughout Chatham County.
In addition, CAT is urging customers to get on and off the bus using the rear entrance to minimize personal contact with operators to protect both employees and customers. Of course, passengers with disabilities, who need to still use the front door with its kneeling function and wheel chair ramp for easier boarding can do so.
CAT Mobility’s paratransit schedule is the same as the reduced operating hours for fixed-route bus service.
CAT’s bus rides and CAT Mobility services are now free to minimize operator and public contact and provide some relief to families who may be losing wages as a result of the health crisis.
During this time, CAT recognizes that the reduced services and operational changes are an inconvenience to many customers who rely the public bus service and the changes were not made without careful consideration of the impacts, said interim Executive Director/CEO Michael Brown.
“We have to protect our precious resources, our operators, as well as the public,” Brown said. “Otherwise, we would probably have to shut the whole operation down.”
The modified bus schedules can be found online at https://www.catchacat.org/modified-bus-schedules/ .
CAT Mobility customers can schedule or reschedule an appointment or get in touch with CAT for any reason by calling (912) 233-5767 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. After 8 p.m., from Monday-Friday, CAT Mobility customers should call the after-hours number, (912) 651-0490. The after-hours number also should be used after 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
CAT’s customer service hours will remain the same during the service reduction. Transit Customer Advocates may be contacted by calling (912) 233-5767 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The CAT board is scheduled to consider whether to continue the reduced service level and waived fares at their meeting on April 28. Prior to that meeting, CAT may need to adjust service levels as the situation or staffing levels dictate.
Service Reduction summary:
Beginning Thursday, March 26, CAT will reduce services and the suspend fare collection.
- CAT buses now operate on a reduced schedule and a 50-percent capacity level
- The 11 Candler, 28 Waters, 20 Skidaway Island / Coffee Bluff and 100 Airport Express shuttle are not operating.
- Operation of the Dot Shuttle and Senior Circulator is suspended.
- Savannah Belles Ferry operations are suspended
- Fares for buses and CAT Mobility paratransit services are temporarily waived
- Customer service can be reached at (912) 233-5767 from 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
- CAT Mobility can be reached at (912) 233-5767 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. After 8 p.m., from Monday-Friday, CAT Mobility customers should call (912) 651-0490. (The after-hours number also should be used after 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.)
- All ticket sales, including online purchases, are suspended
- CAT may need to adjust service levels as the situation or staffing levels dictate.
- Go to catchacat.org or check CAT’s social media pages to see the latest updates