CATA reduces campus services because of driver shortages

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MSU students board the bus at the CATA Transportation Center.

The Capital Area Transportation Authority is experiencing a bus driver shortage which has led to schedule delays and frustrations for some Michigan State University students. The CATA buses that run through campus are a very popular mode of transportation for students to get to class. The campus bus routes that have been reduced to running every 30 minutes include: 30, 31, 32, 33, 38 and 39. 

Chief Marketing and Public Information Officer Laurie Robison said CATA continues to monitor key boarding points to ensure no student is left behind while comparing passenger to the fall semester.

“CATA’s daily weekday passenger trip counts have fluctuated between 2,200 and 5,500 each day since in-class instruction resumed,” Robison said. “By comparison, during the fall 2021 semester, CATA delivered an average of 11,500 passenger trips per weekday.”

MSU students who use CATA to get around have had to set aside more time to get to class based on the reduced schedule. MSU sophomore Gabrielle Ahlborn said all her classes are a 20-minute walk or more, so relying on the staggered bus schedule has been very difficult for her.

“The buses not running more frequently defeats the purpose of having them,” Ahlborn said. “When I get out of class, I can’t make it down to the bus station in time for the one bus I need, so I can either sit and wait for 30 minutes for the next one or walk in the freezing cold.”

MSU sophomore Joey Chrenka said these schedule changes are definitely an inconvenience as buses are more crowded now because there are fewer buses for the same amount of people.

“It takes much longer to get to my classes now and I have to plan ahead to make it to my classes,” said Chrenka, “before it took less than 30 minutes, now it’s closer to 45-60 minutes.”

Robison said CATA recognizes students have been terribly inconvenienced by reduced transportation service, especially when Michigan’s weather is at its worst. 

“While current service reductions will remain in place through March 6, CATA is working with MSU to increase frequency on core campus routes, effective March 14,” Robison said.

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