CANTON, GA (Feb. 13, 2024) – Cherokee Area Transit Service (CATS) has undergone changes including a more efficient service for riders, a new look and an updated name.

A soft rollout of the new micro-transit service pilot program began in January with full launch set for Feb. 15.

Photo Credit: Jaye Grimes/Enjoy Cherokee Magazine

Cherokee County Transportation Director Greg Powell

“This is a new, more modern approach to public transportation,” said Transit Director Greg Powell. “The traditional fixed route system is being replaced with micro-transit, which translates to shorter wait times and a larger service area for our riders. While this is a pilot program to replace the former fixed route system in Canton, the plan is to further expand micro-transit to other areas of the county in the future.”

Previously, CATS offered Fixed Route and Demand Response services. Fixed Route ran on a standard schedule, while Demand Response allowed for CATS riders to schedule their ride ahead of time.

The current micro-transit service area expanded on the area previously served by the former Canton fixed routes. It is generally in the Canton area with the northernmost point being the Chattahoochee Tech campus on Bluffs Parkway extending south to the Holly Springs Walmart at Exit 14. It stretches from the Canton Marketplace shopping center to Knox Elementary on Highway 20 west of Canton. The service area includes downtown Canton, the Laurel Canyon Village shopping center on Reinhardt College Parkway, the Riverstone Parkway area, Northside Hospital Cherokee, Empower Cherokee, the Cherokee County Senior Center, the Cherokee County Health Department and the Cherokee County DFCS office on Univeter Road.

Fares will remain unchanged from the October 2023 update. General fare is $2 per person for 0-5 miles and an additional $1 for more than 5 miles. Reduced fares, which apply to seniors age 60 and over, veterans and Medicare/Medicaid cardholders, are $1 per person per trip for up to 5 miles and an additional $1 for anything over 5 miles. Children 15 and under are free.

Cherokee County partnered with Ecolane USA in September to purchase the software for both micro-transit and Demand Response, which services all of Cherokee County. The CATS micro-transit app operates much like private rideshare company models but for public transit systems. The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase totaling $487,058 over five years. The Federal Transit Authority pays 80 percent, and the county pays 20 percent for the first year. For the following four years, the cost is split 50-50.

Micro-transit not only streamlines the process for riders, it gives them access to the GPS location of their bus, meaning they will be less likely to miss their ride. Trip reminder notifications will also provide a friendly nudge for people to cancel their ride if they no longer need it. Additionally, residents can schedule their rides even if the CATS dispatch office is closed for the day.

Residents can begin downloading the app from the App Store and Google Play store. Simply search Cherokee Area Transit Service.

In addition to the launch of micro-transit, CATS is getting a new look and an updated name to reflect the operation better. The county bid the rebranding project and selected low-bidder M3 Agency for $3,495.

“We felt CATS needed a new name and look that represents what they do,” said Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds. “We made it a point to keep the beloved cat, but the new artwork modernizes the logo. For many years, CATS has commonly been confused with the transportation department that does roadwork, so the new name of Cherokee Area Transit Service better reflects the work the CATS team does well daily.”

Over the next several months, riders will begin to see the new look on the CATS fleet and signage.

For questions or more information, call 770-345-6238 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.




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