CATS will reduce transportation services, will continue to bus Head Start students
Costs of bus service exceeds revenues; ridership plummeted during pandemic
Press Release, Renee Hungerford, executive director of Community Action of Orleans and Genesee
ALBION – For many years, Community Action of Orleans and Genesee has been a resource supporting reliable and affordable transportation services to community members in our two counties via the Community Action Transportation System, better known CATS.
The CATS program has been providing bus transportation service for established routes and for “on-demand” rides year-round, five days per week. Destinations included community health centers, doctor and hospital visits, treatment centers, clinics, dialysis, and retail store shopping. Community Action services have been able to support clients who are elderly or disabled and who remain independent in their homes but do not own/drive a vehicle.
CATS bus transportation services have evolved where experienced and professional staff have dedicated themselves not only to ensuring maintained vehicles but have also provided very caring door-to-door and door-through-door service for some of our clients. The caring and courageous staff continued services throughout the Covid pandemic despite a drastic reduction in riders along with the added effort of sanitizing buses between trips.
While continuing to deliver excellent service to our clients, the current system of providing bus transportation has become exceedingly expensive for Community Action. Over recent years, many of our bus trips contain only one or two riders. Using buses to transport a single rider is extremely expensive and the costs have continued to rise with increases in insurance, bus maintenance, fuel and wages. CATS was established to fill a need in our community for safe transportation. However today, our friends at Rochester Transportation Services (RTS) and others are helping to fulfill this need.
It is with a heavy heart that Community Action has made the decision to downsize the CATS bus transportation system after these many years of service. With costs exceeding revenue, it was decided that this is necessary to protect our ability to provide the many unique and essential services we bring to our customers. This will be difficult and this process will take time.
Community Action will work with partners to do everything possible to ensure transportation needs are met by offering other transportation options to our Community Action clients. We will continue to provide busing for our Head Start program. As we go through this process we will research the possibility to evolve our community transportation support to vans and energy efficient vehicles that meet the special needs of valued customers.