Chatham County’s mass transit provider is getting a makeover. Chatham Area Transit, better known as CAT, provides millions of trips every year, but in the near future, riders are in for an upgrade. Curtis Koleber, Executive Director and CEO with CAT says the goal is a better fit for those who depend on public transportation in their service area for Chatham County. “For decades, Chatham Area Transit has had the same route. What we’re doing is we’re gonna be doing a system redesign.” Koleber said.
The redesign will include the introduction of bigger buses, electric vehicles and routes that better serve riders. Redrawing bus routes in and around Savannah is needed because ridership needs have changed since CAT was first started in the 1980’s. Koleber says new data shows the majority of people who are taking the bus these days are going different places than they were when CAT came to life in the 1980’s. “What we saw was a lot of people were going to the mid-town area, as opposed to the historic district area and with this data and with the consultants help, we’ll be able to decide are routes in the right place or do we need to move these routes to match where people are travelling,” said Koleber.
He adds the change should increase ridership, especially if CAT can reach into areas that are not being served right now. “We don’t service Port Wentworth. We don’t service Pooler, we don’t service Bloomingdale and we don’t service, as you know from your last story, Tybee Island.” Koleber said. Bringing municipalities that currently have no public transportation service into CAT’s service area will take the approval of residents in those cities. Riders everywhere else will begin to see the changes in the next 12 to 18 months.