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As a public transit provider, Capital Area Transit System (CATS) has historically provided charter service to the Baton Rouge community if there is fleet and operator availability for the requested date and time.
As a recipient of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds, CATS is subject to FTA’s Charter Bus Service Rule, which implements 49 U.S.C. 5323(d) to protect private charter operators from unauthorized competition from FTA grant recipients. The Charter Rule does allow certain exceptions for government officials, Qualified Human Service Organizations (QHSOs), and limited trips that meet program purpose criteria.
How Charter Requests are reviewed
A representative from your organization must complete the below form for the requested charter service date(s). Absolutely no requests via email, phone, direct mail, or in-person will be honored. All requests must come through the CATS website.
Once your form is received, a member of the CATS team will review your request and advise if we are able to provide the service. Requests must be received more than 30 days prior to the requested charter date.
The CATS charter representative will review your request and respond via email within 72 business hours.
Requests are typically denied for the following reasons:
- CATS does not have extra operator availability to cover your charter request.
- CATS does not have extra vehicle availability to cover your charter request.
- CATS already has another charter request booked on your requested day/time.
- Your requested charter location is outside of the East Baton Rouge / Baker area.
CATS will not cancel fixed-route service to accommodate any charter request. Our fixed-route customers are our number one priority. Charter requests will not impact them negatively in any capacity. Thank you for your understanding.
If charter service is approved, an official written request on the requesting organization's letterhead will be requested.
Once your letter is received by the CATS charter representative, per the FTA, a Notice of Intent (NOI) must be published on the FTA Charter Registration website. This NOI informs other transit agencies that your charter request has been received by CATS. Registered agencies have the opportunity to respond to your request and inform CATS that they would like to provide you with this service instead of CATS. If any other agency responds to an NOI request, no matter the person or organization, CATS can no longer provide you or organization with the charter request. CATS will connect the requestor with the new charter provider at that time.
If no other transit agency responds to the NOI, a signed contract will be sent to you for your review and signature. This contract, along with a 50% deposit for the full amount, is due to CATS seven (7) business days prior to the charter date. If the deposit and signed contract are not received, the contract is voided.
Upon receipt of your deposit and signed contract, CATS will sign the contract and send a copy of the completed contract and receipt of your 50% deposit for your records.
Seven days prior to your charter date, CATS will confirm charter details with the requestor.
CATS has the right to cancel any charter service at any time prior to 24 hours before service, should the request impact CATS fixed route service negatively. Should this occur, the requestor will be refunded their deposit in full.
CATS shall charge the following rates for approved (eligible) charter service that complies with all Federal regulations:
- Peak Service Time: 6am-9am and 3pm-7pm - $600/hour/vehicle
- Monday-Friday Non-Peak - $500/hour/vehicle
- Weekend: Saturday and Sunday - $400/hour/vehicle
- Non-Profit Organization Rate - $350/hour/vehicle
- Requests made for weekday peak service times will accrue and an additional twenty percent (20%) cost in hourly service per vehicle.
All approved (eligible) charter rates also include drive-time to the origin and return from the destination.
All customers are advised to review the CATS Charter Policy prior to completing the form below.