CATA’s Customer Service Center, 108 E. Beaver Ave. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
Centre Area Transportation Authority services changes brought about by the impact of the pandemic will go into effect Saturday, Aug. 21.
The changes include some route alterations and reductions, a fair increase for CATARIDE and the expansion of CATAGO — a pilot on-demand ride-service program that serves Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap — to Boalsburg.
The modifications come after CATA sought public input over the past few months. CATA also has been tracking proposed changes in Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 mitigation levels and announcement concerning the levels of in-person work and class levels.
CATA anticipates continued reduced ridership moving forward, which has impacted the revenue of the transit system that was supported almost 50% by its own revenue pre-pandemic.
Most transit systems only bring in 15 to 20% of their own funding and the rest comes from state and federal programs. CATA Assistant Executive Director of Operations Kimberly Fragola said during a public meeting in June that the transit system had only recovered about 12% of its pre-pandemic ridership levels.
“That is extremely low. Similarly, the money that we bring in ourselves is only at about 10 percent. So we are struggling and I am only offering that as some of the reasoning. We are reducing some service in areas, changing it in others, but this is the context for that. We are really just trying to look at the long-term survival of the agency,” said Fragola.
While there are no fare increases for CATABUS or CATAGO services, CATARIDE fares will increase from $3.50 to $4 per one-way trip for pre-qualified CATARIDE passengers, or from $23.35 to $26.65 for anyone not pre-qualified for CATARIDE services.
The fares may increase again in August 2022 to $4.25 per one-way trip or $28.35 for anyone not pre-qualified for CATARIDE services.
Another change is CATAGO is expanding to the Boalsburg area.
Those traveling from the Boalsburg area to campus and beyond will need to schedule a CATAGO trip to the bus stops on Rolling Ridge Drive near Hills Plaza and transfer to the CATABUS P Route to continue to campus.
Transfers may also be made at numerous Scenery Park destination points.
When scheduling a CATAGO trip, it will be important to schedule enough time to get to the P Route bus stop prior to the scheduled bus departure times.
For reference, a CATAGO trip from downtown Boalsburg to Weis at Hills Plaza takes approximately 7 to 14 minutes once the vehicle picks up a passenger.
This does not account for potential additional stops to pick up/drop off other passengers.
CATAGO will continue to serve Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap, but the zone will be reduced to east of Shiloh Road. Destination points outside of the zone will be as follows:
- Bus stops/CATAGO stops at Walmart on Benner Pike (one at the CATABUS stop on the west side of the parking lot and one at the Walmart Pharmacy front door);
- CATAGO stop in the plaza with Perkins and Big Lots; n Bus stops/CATAGO stops outside Nittany Mall (one at the mall main entrance and one near McDonald’s);
- CATAGO stops at the State College VA Clinic; and
- Bus stops/CATAGO stops located near Centre Medical Sciences Building and Mount Nittany Medical Center.
CATABUS has updated its weekend service schedule with reduced hours and there will no longer be CATABUS service on Labor Day, Christmas Eve Day through New Year’s Day, Memorrial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day or Thanksgiving Day.
More information about service changes is available on CATA’s website.