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Passengers with Disabilities
CAT is an essential part of Chatham County, and making our transportation system accessible to all residents and visitors is a key part of our commitment to the community. In order to make it easy for passengers with disabilities to get where they need to go, our system includes:
- Online Reservation Requests
- Standard buses and shuttles equipped with accessibility devices
- Paratransit service (CAT Mobility) for eligible customers
- The ability to make alternate formats of our documents available upon request. Such formats can include large print, Braille, and audio recording. Click here to email your request.
- A Half-Fare Program for eligible riders with disabilities and elderly customers. Click on the link to visit our Fares & Passes section to learn more about half-fare eligibility.
- Mobile ticketing for qualified customers. (Customers must first call customer service at (912) 233-5767 to get set up to purchase tickets using your smartphone.)
Accessible Fixed Route & Paratransit Services
All of CAT’s fixed-route vehicles contain features and equipment that allow riders with disabilities to board, ride, and exit vehicles easily, comfortably, and safely.
- 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
Under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), transit providers are required to permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. We may ask if an animal is a service animal and/or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. The handler is responsible for the care and supervision of their service animal. If the service animal behaves in an unacceptable way, such as uncontrolled barking, jumping on other people, or running away from the handler, CAT does not have to allow the animal onto the bus or vehicle.
Emotional support animals, comfort animals and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. A doctor’s note does not qualify an animal as a service animal. While emotional support or comfort animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals but they are not considered service animals.
In addition to our regular buses, CAT provides CAT Mobility 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, 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 five to ten 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 put down the ramp for easier boarding.
- Pay your fare. Passengers with disabilities may qualify for reduced fares or free service. 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.
In accordance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Chatham Area Transit has established policy and procedures for considering reasonable modifications to CAT policies and practices.
To request a reasonable modification:
- Complete and submit the online form below OR
- Click here to view and download a PDF version of the form. This version may be submitted via email after completing the fields to firstname.lastname@example.org, or it may be printed and brought to the Transit Center at 610 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, GA 31401 for processing. Office hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Reasonable Modification Request form:
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.