SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Imagine your elderly parent left stranded on a street corner with no way to get home.
That’s a reality for some seniors struggling with transportation in Savannah.
Many seniors don’t have access to a car or they can’t drive.
They tell us one of the only alternatives is the bus service provided by Chatham Area Transit, but they say it’s inadequate or nonexistent.
Residents at an apartment complex for the elderly in Savannah say they used to have a designated shuttle service for seniors that they relied on for essential errands.
They told me it was discontinued during the pandemic. They said they have been told multiple times that the service would be restored for more than a year, but it hasn’t happened.
“They got our hopes up again. You know, it’s difficult to get around, and it’s expensive to get around. And I just think that that’s unfair, and it sounds a little unethical,” Miss Trish, a senior resident in Savannah said.
“It was designated for seniors. You know, we earned this. We worked hard all of our lives, and Savannah’s usually really proactive about it, but Chatham area transit’s kinda dropped the ball right now,” she continued.
She said, that even before the service was discontinued, it was unreliable at best, dangerous at worst.
“I stopped using it because I was left stranded on Eisenhower at a doctor’s office at the end of the day. And I was standing outside waiting for my ride, and they couldn’t even tell me when or if they were even gonna come back,” she said.
“Nobody should be stranded like that, and left alone,” Miss Trish continued.
Meanwhile, last month, the Savannah City Council approved a measure to allot more than $7 million dollars to expand bus service in Downtown Savannah – in areas like the Historic District, Carver Village and Cloverdale.
Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely was the sole “no” vote on the measure.
She tells us it isn’t fair, saying, “The same way we put emphasis on downtown, we need to put emphasis on transportation for the whole city.”
Transportation woes are also a priority for other local politicians.
Mayor Van Johnson said he would support something called a transportation special purpose local option sales tax – which would provide additional funding for transportation.
“I still believe the TSPLOST, it has to be communicated well. It has to be communicated county-wide, and everyone has to have a clear and direct plan about how this money’s gonna be used,” he said.
Chatham Area Transit told News 3, “The zero fare cat connects pilot program is currently in the development phase.”
They say service planning is now underway.