FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2021
Commonwealth Transportation Board awards Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) $1,066,620 to continue fare-free rides to the public for an additional four years.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) is announcing today that its service will remain zero-fare for the next four years. CAT would like to thank the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board for deeming this project worthy of consideration. As a result of this award, CAT passengers will continue to enjoy easier access to public transportation with the elimination one major barrier: the fare.
In September 2021, CAT submitted an application to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation requesting funding through the Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP) to continue the zero-fare operating model. Since March 2020, CAT has provided a fare-free service, responding to citizens in a time of need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April 2021, the American Rescue Plan and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act paved the way for CAT to set a course toward a three-year, zero-fare model. Now with an additional million dollars, CAT will continue the fixed-route zero-fare model until June 30, 2026.
CAT’s Director of Transit Garland Williams said, “CAT is a valuable and necessary asset to the community and the awarding of a TRIP grant is a major step forward to improving access to public transportation in the region. This funding will remove a financial barrier for low income individuals who are transit dependent. I want to thank the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for supporting a fixed-route zero-fare model for our transit system in the City of Charlottesville and portions of urban Albemarle County.”
City of Charlottesville, Mayor Nikuyah Walker said, “Much appreciation to Mr. Williams and his team for securing the TRIP grant to support a fare-free model for CAT. Fare-free offers an incentive for citizens to use our services to meet their daily needs. Many of our citizens rely on transit day-to-day, and this grant will allow those who need additional support to have one less worry."
Regional Transit Partnership (RTP) Chairperson Diantha McKeel said, “This is outstanding news! The CAT application for the TRIP grant funding was supported regionally and as the Chair of the RTP, I am in favor of regional projects to move public transit forward. This grant not only will benefit those who depend on public transportation daily but may also encourage others to use transit more frequently instead of personal vehicles.”
Sam Sanders, Deputy City Manager of Operations for the City of Charlottesville said, “We are happy to see that our continued commitment to strengthening our transit system is being rewarded with additional funding to bring the comprehensive service the community needs.”
Trevor Henry, Assistant County Executive for the County of Albemarle said, “This is great news for our community! Albemarle County Government is grateful for our partnership with CAT’s leadership and for the critical role its staff plays in serving our community, especially during these unprecedented times of COVID19. Thanks to CAT’s leadership for making application and to the State for awarding this important grant to our region. I’m excited to see the return on this investment in increased ridership over the next several years and look forward to continuing our collaboration to improve transit utilization in our region.”
From the beginning of the pandemic to today, CAT has operated as a lifeline for those in need. Whether you rely on public transportation as your primary method of travel or only use it occasionally, CAT encourages you to give transit a try. For more information, please visit www.catchthecat.org.
Interim Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville