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Community Meeting Q&A Summary Banner

Community Meeting Q&A Summary

Chatham Area Transit held a community meeting via teleconference on Wednesday, May 13, in order to allow customers to have a dialogue with staff about services during the pandemic. This meeting was held remotely in place of our regular monthly community meetings at the JMR Intermodal Transit Center, for the safety of our customers and staff. Below you will find some a summary of the topics and responses covered during the event.

Why are bus operations stopping so early?

We are continuing to run reduced services and operating hours, along with safety measures such as rear-door boarding, as a result of the pandemic at this time. Our focus remains on protecting employees and our customers by reducing capacity on the buses and continuing to encouraging the public to use our services for essential trips only and to wear face coverings. We are developing a plan for getting services back to normal service levels, in consultation with front-line staff, health professionals and government officials. We will let the public know as soon as that plan has been finalized. To get the latest service updates, customers can check our website or subscribe to our weekly eNews briefs by emailing “subscribe” to marketing@catchacat.org.

Will I have to reapply to use CAT Mobility paratransit service when regular service resumes, since I have not used it during the pandemic?

No we will not be decertifying anyone for not using the service during the pandemic. All you will have to do is to make a reservation like you did previously once we resume regular operations. We are at this time still encouraging use for essential trips only, however.

What’s being done to ensure the buses are properly cleaned?

We’re thoroughly cleaning all of the buses and paratransit vehicles every night, including wiping down the driver’s area, all the seats and handrails. We’ve doubled the bleach content of our cleaning products and making sure we change our mop heads and buckets more frequently. We’re also using Vital Oxide, a sanitizing fog we spray in the buses that is recommended to fight the spread of COVID-19 by killing 99.9 percent of viruses. We’ve also been communicating with other transit agencies throughout the country so we determine additional best practices for bus sanitizing efforts.

Can you clean the buses in the mid-shift and switch them out with new buses during service hours?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to do mid-shift cleaning with current staffing levels.  To do so would require us to double the number of employees responsible for the process. With regards to switching out buses, once our buses are running we do not have enough buses to swap buses out during the day.

Any thought to installing barriers on the buses to help prevent transmission?

We have ordered barriers for the buses to go where the drivers are. We are still looking for different types of barriers for paratransit.

What is being done by CAT to help provide cleaner air and reduce emissions?

We are exploring the use of electric buses and our first delivery was initially expected late this summer or early fall. That timeline has been pushed back a bit due to the pandemic. We are planning to start with a fleet of six electric buses at first, but have to get the infrastructure in place and are working with Georgia Power to do that.

How do costs compare with electric buses?

The initial costs are more, but over a 12 year period it is projected we will realize about a 20 percent to 28 percent savings over our diesel and hybrid bus operating and maintenance costs.

With Memorial Day coming up, are there any plans to change the schedule?

We currently have no plans to implement any services changes ahead of Memorial Day, as we work with health professionals and local officials to develop a plan for restoring the regular schedule.

I have a concern about the 12 Henry. Some elderly Thunderbolt residents have to walk from Shell Road to the entrance of Savannah State on Falligant Avenue to catch the bus. Could we get a stop on Shell or Sunset Boulevard?

Unfortunately, Thunderbolt is not part of CAT’s service district, where property owners pay a special tax to fund our services. We had to stop serving stops in the town last year following complaints that we were serving the area, which we are prohibited by state law to do. The town would have to agree to join the service district and pay the transit tax in order to restore service to the stops.

With this being a respiratory diseases, is anything being done in the bus for air filtration? Do you use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters?

We spray the air filters with the Vital Oxide every night and it goes through the HVAC system and coils and clears out that air and new air coming in. The system comes with HEPA filters and that’s what we replace it with.

When will the bus to Skidaway Island resume service?

The 20 Skidaway Island/Coffee Bluff, 28 Waters, 11 Candler and 100 Airport Express routes are not operating as a result of the service modifications put in place in response to the pandemic. We expect those routes to begin operating again when we resume our regular schedule.

How many wheelchairs are the paratransit buses supposed to accommodate? Some cannot accommodate three like they are supposed to, when the wheelchairs are oversized.

Our paratransit buses are designed to accommodate three wheelchairs. All manufactures build them the same and meet FTA and APTA regulations. We do have one paratransit vehicle that only accommodates one wheelchair, but it is being retrofitted to accommodate two more. If for some reasons three cannot be accommodated, please report details about the incident, such as time, date and bus number, so we can look into the matter. Customer service can be reached at (912) 233-5767. Concerns also can be submitted online at https://www.catchacat.org/rider-tools/submit-a-suggestion-or-complaint/ .

To find more information about our modified services and pandemic response, click here. You can also subscribe to CAT’s weekly eNews briefs by emailing “subscribe” to marketing@catchacat.org, to be notified of any future community meetings and service updates. You can also subscribe and read past editions on our website at www.catchacat.org/media/enews/ .