Students react to CATA discounts on campus
On January 13, the Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, announced that it would extend its service cuts until at least March 6. This came as the Omicron variant continues to rise throughout Michigan and an emerging shortage of bus drivers.
This reduction in service affects bus lines on campus, operating at a frequency of 30 minutes compared to every 7 to 10 minutes on weekdays. Off-campus bus routes were also affected, resulting in fewer stops. You can find a list of affected routes here.
The university is expected to resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 31. However, the university or CATA have not released an update or statement on whether or not regular bus service will return to normal next week.
With the return of in-person classes, students are concerned about whether or not they will have to walk to class. “I have to walk all the way or ride a bike, which obviously isn’t ideal in these very cold temperatures,” said political science officer Libby Draeger.
While Draeger says she has a car, part of it was stolen from her garage, leaving it out of service as far as transportation goes. “So I walk or bike everywhere, like calling rides and carpooling isn’t great,” Draeger said. “And it’s expensive.”
While walking in freezing temperatures is one of CATA’s concerns, others are considering the impact reduced bus service is having on low-income students. “This has a profound impact on the safety of low-income students who may not be able to afford proper winter clothing,” education junior Paige Drob said in an email.
Drob also mentions that the MSU admin seems to be condoning this issue and that it needs to be fixed.
A student understands the impact that reduced bus service on campus is having on students, but believes they should wait. “The best thing they can do is raise their concerns directly with CATA,” Charlotte Bachelor, a professional and public writing junior, said in an email. “I see a lot of talk about emailing President Stanley, but at the end of the day he doesn’t control the buses.”
The students started a petition to increase the frequency of buses on campus, which has accumulated more than 1,000 signatures.
CATA passengers are advised that real-time departure data on the Transit app, CATANow and their website is unreliable during the extended service reduction period. Passengers are encouraged to call CATA at 517-394-1000, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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