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IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     

Contact:  Jean Leier (704) 432-0496
   
CATS SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICE NAMED SAFEST PARATRANSIT SYSTEM IN STATE

Charlotte, N.C., June 10, 2010 - For the second year in a row, the North Carolina Public Transportation Association (NCPTA) awarded the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Special Transportation Service (STS) top honors as the safest Urban Dial-A-Ride system in the state for 2009.  This award is given to a paratransit system that travels over 750,000 miles a year and has excellent performance in traffic and passenger safety. 
 
CATS STS buses traveled 2.75 million miles in 2009, carrying 240,000 passengers with a rate of only .40 accidents per 100,000 miles driven.  ¡"We employ 83 paratransit bus operators who undergo extensive safety and defensive driver training" said Carolyn Flowers, CEO of CATS.  "Our commitment and focus on safety allows us to provide quality transportation to people with disabilities.  This statewide recognition highlights the efforts of our Operators and the safe service they provide." 

CATS¡¦ defensive driving training includes the Smith System, an industry standard. This program is nationally proven to help reduce accidents.  All new paratransit bus operators go through intensive four to five-week training followed by driving with a supervisor before they are released to pickup disabled passengers on their own.  STS employees who are involved in a preventable accident receive post-accident follow up training, which includes a refresher in Smith System defensive driving.

STS also brought home the 2009 Paratransit Bus Roadeo team trophy for the fourth year in a row.  The team consists of Henry Minnett, Linville Plexico and Wiley Johnson.  Minnett took third place in the state competition.  In the Bus Operations Division (BOD) roadeo competition, Bus Operator Lonny Earnhardt placed first in the state.  Earnhardt will represent North Carolina at the 2011 International Bus Roadeo in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
In FY2009 CATS drove a total of 15.9 million miles transporting 26 million passenger trips across the Charlotte region.  To learn more about CATS and its services call 704-336-RIDE (7433) or visit us on the web at www.ridetransit.org.