Bus Riders Protest CAT Weekend, Holiday Service - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Bus Riders Protest CAT Weekend, Holiday Service

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Charlottesville commuters who depend on public transportation  say they are tired of being cut-off by Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT).  They say the bus system's limited weekend service makes it difficult to get around and they're demanding city councilors do something about it.    

Protesters outside Charlottesville City Hall on Saturday wanted CAT to provide full service on Sundays and holidays.  

Protest organizer Paul Long said, "The only two buses that are running are a free trolley and the Route 7 from 6:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the evening. I think that all of the buses should be running on Sundays."  

They say the limited weekend schedule has made it difficult for people without cars to get to jobs and services, including Martha Jefferson Hospital's Pantops location.    

Brandon Collins, a CAT bus rider said, "There were two times this past year where I needed to go to the new hospital. It wasn't life threatening so I didn't need an ambulance, but it was very difficult for me to find a ride and all that."  

For many bus riders, the issue is also about safety. Nancy Carpenter, another rider, said she's put herself into some dangerous situations to hop a ride.    

"I've actually crossed [Route] 29 to get across the street to go to an inbound stop and I've been here in Charlottesville and have read the news reports of people who have crossed 29 and gotten struck and killed," said Carpenter.    

Demonstrators are turning to city councilors and the Virginia Department of Transportation to fund the bus service expansion, pointing to state dollars given to build big road projects like the Western Bypass that could go to public transportation instead.  

Long said, "If the commonwealth of Virginia can spend that kind of money expanding a six mile stretch of roadway as well as the Meadow Creek Parkway… the millions they spent on that… they need to start having a serious discussion on state funding for public transportation in Charlottesville."

Protesters also want Charlottesville council to follow-up on a previous proposal to create a regional public transportation authority.

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