When the Chatham Area Transit Authority partnered with French conglomerate Veolia Transportation in July 2010, board members claimed the relationship would open new funding opportunities and improve efficiency. About three years into the five-year contract, the experiment has been brought to a halt. The CAT board voted Thursday to end the partnership and gave Veolia 45 days to transfer management back to the authority.
Chairman Pete Liakakis said Monday the partnership was becoming too expensive, but referred further inquiries to CAT attorney Ty Butler…Calvin Kennedy, CAT employees’ union representative, said a U.S. Department of Labor rule, 13(c), requires that all of the 150 or so employees retain their jobs during the transfer because federal funds were used to purchase the buses….
…Since taking over management duties, Veolia staff has reached out to local universities and businesses to increase ridership and its service area. Some of the efforts have been more successful than others. While the outreach led to a partnership with Savannah State University to provide transportation for its students, efforts to make a similar arrangement with Armstrong Atlantic State University have proven elusive….