SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Chatham Area Transit (CAT) is working with the public to make its services more reliable. It comes as CAT faces an ongoing employee shortage and record-breaking gas prices have more people turning to public transportation.

“You can’t hire nobody, you can’t keep nobody,” says a frustrated rider. “Bus drivers complaining, people complaining.”

Emotions ran high at Wednesday’s Chatham area transit public forum. 

“The passengers need safety as well as the bus operators, ” says a senior bus rider.

CAT held the meeting to alert the public of potential schedule changes planned to better match staffing levels — and meet the increased ridership demands.

“Gas prices play a role in our ridership,” says Ashley Goodrich, Chatham area transit’s planning manager. “We can by a percentage point for every 50 cents on the dollar see an increase in ridership. That hasn’t changed in any decade when gas prices go up.” 

CAT is reporting a 20% increase in ridership in April of this year compared to 2021. Officials say they’re trying to make accessibility a priority as more people make use of public transportation.

“So, a big part of what we are looking at is with our reliability is also our access,” said Goodrich. “In order to access my buses. You have to be able to get on the bus. You have to get to the bus stop before you get on the bus. You have to know where the bus stop is.”

Leaders talked about nine routes that will see timing and routing adjustments, but changes are not expected to stop there.

“We are going to embark on a 12-to-18-month period where we will be committed to outreach to every corner of Savannah and Chatham county,” says Goodrich. “We are looking at all modes of transportation.”

Timing adjustments are going to be made to the following routes:

  • 4 Barnard
  • 6 Crosstown
  • 12 Henry
  • 14 Abercorn
  • 17 Silk Hope
  • 25 Westlake
  • 31 Skidaway

Routing adjustments will be made or removed to the following :

  • 12 Henry
  • 14 Abercorn
  • 6 Crosstown