March 24, 2021 - The Chatham Area Transit Board on Tuesday approved staff’s recommendation to make a veterans discount program permanent.
The veterans program provides a 50-percent discount on CAT services to former members of the military. The discount can be applied to most of CAT’s fixed-route fare options, including $1.50 one-way trips, $3 day passes and $50 monthly passes.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our veterans and active-duty service members, who take risks and make immense sacrifices to defend and protect our country,” said interim CEO Valerie Ragland. ”Today’s vote by the Board to make this a permanent discount allows us to express our gratitude for their service and their sacrifice.”
Initially launched in November 2019 in conjunction with Veterans Day, a planned six-month assessment period to track participation rates was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and CAT’s suspension of fare collection.
Following the resumption of fare collection in December, CAT also re-implemented the veterans discount pilot program. A total of 740 veteran discounts were issued during the six-month trial period, accounting for $555 total discounted. Calculations based on the highest usage month could assume a $165 discount to be issued monthly amounting to a total of $1,980 discounted annually with the implementation of the program.
According to the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, there were about 28,000 veterans in Chatham County in 2017. Statewide, the number was almost 700,000.
CAT also offers similar half-fare programs to young people ages 6-18, people with disabilities, Medicare recipients, and seniors ages 65 and older.
To get the discount, veterans should present bus operators with either their veteran ID card, discharge documents or driver’s license with a veteran designation. Proof of membership in a veterans’ organization such as the VFW, American Legion and AMVETS also will be accepted.
Half-fare ID cards also can be obtained by presenting proof of service at the ticket window at the downtown Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center, 610 W. Oglethorpe Avenue. These IDs can then be used in place of military service documentation.
Veterans can also call customer service at (912) 233-5767 to get set up and purchase the discounted passes using CAT’s Token Transit mobile ticketing app.
Veterans who need proof of their service can learn how to get a copy of their DD 214 form (Report of Separation) from the National Archives by going to the following web address: https://themilitarywallet.com/replace-lost-military-service-records/