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Charlottesville Area Transit receives grant to continue fare-free service

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Charlottesville Area Transit service will remain zero-fare for the next four years.

CAT submitted an application to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation in September requesting funding through the Transit Ridership Incentive Program 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, 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 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,” CAT’s Director of Transit Garland Williams said. “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.”

“Much appreciation to Mr. Williams and his team for securing the TRIP grant to support a fare-free model for CAT,” Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said. “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.”

“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,” Regional Transit Partnership Chairperson Diantha McKeel said. “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.”

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.

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augusta free press
augusta free press