MSU students and the complicated relationship with public transportation 

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Walking to class isn’t a viable option for some Michigan State students. While MSU has one of the largest campuses in the country, in many cases students need to travel long distances in short periods of time to make it to their next class.

CATA brings students a solution for those students who don’t want to walk. CATA is the bus service that is available for free that transports Michigan State students around the entire campus. 

MSU students depend on these buses to get to class, but they aren’t always reliable.

Kartikeya Shukla, a sophomore at MSU, doesn’t have much trust in the buses due to the lack of punctuality.

“A lot of the times this semester I’ve chosen to walk to my classes instead of taking the bus because it’s never on time,” Shukla said.

Shukla rides on the buses because it can be more convenient than walking despite delays.

“Sometimes I’m more tired than normal, even though it’s guaranteed to be 15 minutes, I still wait for the bus,” Shukla said.

Shukla would also like to see upgrades to the CATA app that tracks buses on their routes.

 “I feel like they should update the app so we can track the buses better, instead of just guessing when they are going to show up eventually we can actually see when it’s going to show up,” Shukla said. 

Shukla has missed buses due to the app not showing accurate locations of buses. 

CATA has shown efforts to hire more drivers after many retired​​ due to the pandemic. In 2022, a driver shortage caused CATA to reduce rides due to lack of drivers. With more drivers, CATA could run more buses which would result in less delays for students.

“I also think they should hire more drivers because they have the buses but they don’t have the drivers to run them,” Shukla said.

There are six routes that transport students with around 10 to 15 stops per route. However, Murbaca would like to see a wider range of routes that connect more places on campus.

Sarear Murbaca is another MSU student who likes to take the bus. He uses the buses because he thinks it’s a better alternative than walking to class.“I go to Brody from Wilson so I would like a bus from Wilson to Brody,” Murbaca said.

Currently to get from Wilson Hall to Brody buses, there are no direct buses. This means students have to ride the bus for a longer amount of time than it would take to walk. So a bus on the west side of campus to connect Brody to south campus could be a good addition for students. 

Buses weren’t always free for Michigan State students. In 2018, CATA announced that MSU students would be able to ride for free around campus.

Michigan State sophomore Partick Lurz is glad there is no longer a fee for buses.

“I’m happy they are free because I don’t think I would pay for the bus pass if I had to,” Lurz said.

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Michigan State students rely on CATA buses to go from class to class but students don’t always trust these buses to get around in a timely manner. Students are asking for upgrades to many aspects of the system.

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