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CAT reducing services, waiving fares
Posted on March 25, 2020
3/27/2020 Update: CAT will be suspending Savannah Belles Ferry operations on Saturday, March 28.
Savannah, Ga. – On Thursday, Chatham Area Transit buses will start operating on a reduced schedule throughout the week in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The 11 Candler, 28 Waters, 20 Skidaway Island / Coffee Bluff and 100 Airport Express will not operate while the reduced schedule is in place. Operation of the Dot Shuttle will be suspended, as well as the Senior Circulator. The Savannah Belles Ferry boats also will operate on a reduced schedule, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., each day. The modified schedule will begin on Thursday, March 26.
In addition, CAT is temporarily waiving fare collection 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, customers are being asked to get on and off the bus using the rear entrance, although those who need to can still use the front door with its kneeling function and wheel chair ramp for easier boarding.
The elimination of fares also applies to the CAT Mobility paratransit service. The suspension of fare collection begins on Thursday, March 26 and online ticket purchases will be unavailable until further notice.
The temporary policy changes were approved by the CAT board during a special called meeting held remotely on Tuesday. The changes are meant to help prevent the spread of the virus, while recognizing that CAT is an essential public service that many residents rely on every day, said interim Executive Director/CEO Michael Brown.
“I hope that most people understand the circumstances,” Brown said. “We want to continue to serve our customers by providing a modified level of service that mitigates the risks for passengers and our employees. Going fare-free eliminates the handling of cash and reduces exposure risks, while also alleviating some of the financial burden many of our customers are facing.”
The revised bus operating hours will be from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays until further notice. Please be mindful that those hours do not reflect all buses. Riders should consult the individual route schedules we have online when planning their trip.
The modified schedule for each of the routes are available online at https://www.catchacat.org/modified-bus-schedules/.
CAT is encouraging customers to continue to practice social distancing and refrain from nonessential trips to help prevent the spread of the virus.
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 will operate on a reduced schedule throughout the week.
- The 11 Candler, 28 Waters, 20 Skidaway Island / Coffee Bluff and 100 Airport Express will not operate.
- Operation of the Dot Shuttle and Senior Circulator will be suspended.
- Savannah Belles Ferry will operate from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. and then 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Services will be suspended completed, starting Saturday, March 28.)
- Fares for buses and CAT Mobility paratransit services will be 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, will be suspended.
- CAT may need to adjust service levels as the situation or staffing levels dictate.