CATA route reduction sends students on a cold, lonely walk

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Students walks away from camera on sidewalk on snowy day

Katie Patton

Lone student makes his way home from class Thursday evening.

With heavy snow hitting Michigan State University’s campus this week, students have no choice but to walk in the bitter cold because of bus shortages.

Students were recently told that the CATA buses would be reducing pickups for their regular routes on campus. This includes routes 30, 31, 32, 33, 38 and 39, all routes MSU students use on a daily basis. Without the buses, students are forced to walk miles across campus though hazardous weather and below-freezing temperatures.

MSU junior Maggie Schlett had no choice but to walk though blizzardlike conditions Wednesday morning to get to her brand new job. She just started working in the dining halls, which is a pretty far walk from her house off campus. 

“I planned on taking the bus to work. Needless to say, I was upset when I found out they weren’t running regularly,” said Schlett. “Our reality is that the whole situation is a detriment to our physical and mental health.”

This week happened to be when MSU decided to return to in-person instruction, filling lecture halls and buildings all over campus. Many undergraduate students do not have cars, so their only means of transportation are the bus, a friend, or walking. 

Christian Shaman, a sophomore at MSU, waited 45 minutes in the cold for his bus to arrive Thursday morning. Shaman ended up being late to his class, and eventually talked to his professor about the situation. His professor was completely unaware of the bus problem.

“Plenty of students like me have 8 a.m. classes at least twice or multiple times a week. We can’t afford to walk a mile there and back in 3-degree or below weather,” said Shaman.

The chilling temperatures students continue to walk in bring concern to MSU parents. Sheila Hebert, mother of sophomore Andrew Hebert, is concerned about her son getting around at school. She knows he takes the bus from time to time to avoid raking up expensive parking bills.

“I understand CATA may be having trouble finding drivers, but our kids rely on many of them as their main mode of transportation in the winter,” said Hebert.

Chatter among students suggests the buses will start to run regularly at the beginning of March, but the transit company’s website says the reductions are until further notice. Some off-campus routes have also been reduced.

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