In an effort to lessen the burden on essential workers who support Savannah’s tourism and service industry, Chatham Area Transit is postponing next month’s planned schedule changes, including the suspension of Sunday operations.
The decision to postpone and reevaluate the changes comes after obtaining community feedback, which included responses to a recent survey conducted by the Tourism Leadership Council to determine the plan’s impact on local employers and their staff.
The service changes will be postponed for at least 90 days to allow CAT officials to engage in more conversations with key community leaders about working collaboratively to support CAT services, said CEO Bacarra S. Mauldin.
“I am excited that there are leaders in our community who recognize the tremendous benefits CAT provides in our communities and just how much of an economic impact the agency has in Chatham County,” Mauldin said. “I am equally pleased that these same leaders are eager to come to the table and talk about what CAT needs to operate efficiently. It’s a day of collaborative involvement in the community, and one that helps shine a light on CAT’s contributions as an economic engine in Chatham County.”
Maudlin and other CAT officials were joined by representatives from the TLC, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Restaurant Association during a press conference Friday, when the postponement of the service changes and plan to work together was announced.
Michael Owens, TLC CEO and president, applauded CAT for being a community partner and for Mauldin’s responsiveness to the concerns of the hospitality industry and community at large regarding the suspension of Sunday operations.
“CAT serves many in our community, including those who rely on public transportation as their sole means of continuing to be a vital member of our community’s workforce and economic health,” Owens said. “This moment in time has solidified the importance of a responsive and effective public transportation model. We are grateful to come to the table, with other community partners, to work in a collaborative and meaningful way to continue to refine and support CAT’s critical public service mission.”
The changes had been planned to meet changes in rider needs and respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the postponement, CAT will continue to operate under the current schedule until at least February as a collaborative plan is worked out for moving forward during the continuing pandemic.