Chatham Area Transit plans to increase the operating hours for most fixed-route buses and CAT Mobility paratransit services on June 15, while retaining safety measures put in place to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The ramped up schedule will essentially mirror CAT’s regular schedule, with the exception that the 14 Abercorn, 27 Waters and 25 MLK/Westlake will stop operating earlier than normal on most days. (Sundays will run on a regular schedule). The three routes will run as follows:
· 14 Abercorn will run until 12:15 a.m. on weekdays and 11:55 p.m. on Saturdays.
· 25 MLK/Westlake will run until 10:55 p.m. on weekdays and 11:07 p.m. on Saturdays.
· 27 Waters will run until 11:25 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.
CAT Mobility paratransit service hours will be identical to the extended fixed-route schedule.
Some contracted services will remain suspended until further notice. These services include the Dot shuttle, SSU shuttle and Senior Circulator.
Savannah Belles Ferry services also will begin operating on an increased scheduled on June 15 that will run from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
As the community takes steps to reopen following the easing of shelter-in-place orders, the expanded schedule is expected to serve the growing number of people in need of public transit, said interim Executive Director/CEO Michael J. Brown.
“We have to adjust our service to meet the community needs, while maintaining our focus on keeping our customers and employees as safe as possible,” Brown said. “This has been our goal since the virus first appeared within our community and will remain so as we continue to navigate through this pandemic.”
Under the plan, CAT also will continue limiting their buses to half their normal capacity to allow passengers more room to spread out. Since capacity will remain limited, customers should continue to only use CAT services for essential trips such as work, medical appointments and grocery shopping.
In addition, CAT will continue to waive fares to minimize operator and customer contact, and bus riders should continue using the rear door unless they have disabilities that require them to use the front door with its kneeling function and wheelchair ramp. Customers also are strongly encouraged to use cloth face coverings or masks while riding the bus or using CAT Mobility.
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.
Customer service also will resume regular operating hours on June 15. At that time, customers can call (912) 233-5767 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon.-Fri., and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
For more information and to check individual schedules, go to www.catchacat.org/maps-and-schedules/current-schedules/.