Capital Area Transportation Authority

Infobox Bus transit
name = Capital Area Transportation Authority

logo_size =

image_size =
image_caption =
company_slogan = Wherever Life Takes You
parent =
founded = 1972
headquarters = 4615 Tranter Street
locale = Lansing, Michigan
service_area =
service_type = bus service, paratransit
alliance =
routes = 33
destinations =
stops =
hubs =
stations = Transportation Center
420 S. Grand Ave.
lounge =
fleet =
ridership = 49,000 [ [ Record Numbers Turn to CATA for Transportation, May 22, 2008] ] (weekday)
fuel_type = Diesel, Diesel-electric hybrid
operator =
ceo = Sandy Draggoo
leader_type =
leader =
website = []
The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) provides mass transit bus service and paratransit within the metro Lansing, Michigan area (the Michigan capital) including Michigan State University (MSU).

CATA system

CATA operates both bus transit and paratransit service across a convert|600|sqmi|km2|sing=on area throughout metro Lansing including Michigan State University. As of|2007, CATA boasts the third highest ridership of any transit system in the state of Michigan, with a total ridership of 10,682,792, [Email received from CATA Customer Service Manager, April 23, 2008] a slight increase from the 10,031,082 in 2006.

CATA has approximately 300 employees. It does not operate on these seven major holidays:
*New Years Day
*Memorial Day
*Fourth of July
*Labor Day

Bus service

Referred to as "fixed route service", CATA's standard bus service operates on thirty-three routes with both rigid convert|40|ft|m|abbr=on and articulated convert|60|ft|m|abbr=on buses. Most of these are low floor buses manufactured by New Flyer, however a few older high floor GM Rapid Transit Series remain in the fleet. The bus service hub is at the CATA Transportation Center (CTC) in downtown Lansing, with a satellite hub on the MSU campus (see below). In August 2006, CATA added the first three hybrid electric buses to its fleet (New Flyer DE40LFR); making CATA the first company in Michigan to operate hybrid buses. Since then it has continued to purchase more, including articulated hybrid models.

Fixed route buses use a GPS-based system manufactured by Luminator USA that periodically plays a voice-recording of the bus's location over the loudspeakers. This is particularly useful to the visually-impaired and users who are unfamiliar with the area. All buses are also equipped with fold-out ramps for users in wheelchairs.

CATA operates a satellite hub, called the MSU/CATA Transportation Center, on the Michigan State University campus. This center serves as a hub for CATA's MSU-based routes; it also consists of a large public parking ramp. Many of the MSU-area routes are called "Spartan Service". This means that the route only operates during the MSU fall and spring semesters. This includes all routes numbered 30–36, Lot Link and Night Owl. Other routes (routes 1, 25 and 26) are partially Spartan Service, that is, they run more frequently and/or longer into the night during the semesters.

CATA significantly altered its intra-campus (routes 30–39) Spartan Service bus routes serving Michigan State University beginning Fall 2007. Changes include having the same bus serve both the Commuter Lot and Spartan Village, adding Spartan Service to the newly re-opened University Village Apartments, extending fixed route weekend and weeknight service to the Commuter Lot, and adding an additional fixed route for weekend and weeknight service; in the process, routes 37 and 38, the previous night/weekend routes, have been eliminated and replaced with the new routes 34–36 for weekday night and weekend service on campus. The weekday daytime routes, 30–33, were considerably altered as well. These changes are in effect due to major construction on Farm Lane, which is being rebuilt for widening and to bypass the frequently-served train tracks. The construction project will not be completed for several years.


CATA operates several paratransit services using small buses and mini vans. One service, Spec-Tran, is offered to persons with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route service. The "Night Owl", offers rides across the MSU campus every night from 2 am to 7 am (9 am on weekends) in order to give students a safer way to traverse campus at these hours.

Fixed routes

;Route categories:
* Routes 1–19 are Lansing-area routes
* Routes 20–26 are east-area routes (East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett)
* Routes 30–36 are MSU-area routes and all are entirely Spartan Service (i.e. they only run during MSU fall and spring semesters and are marked "Entire route" under the "Spartan Service" column)
* Routes 46 & 48 are limited stop commuter routes
* "(Limited)" indicates that the route only stops at certain points
* "(Trolley)" indicates that the route is run using trolley-style buses. Bicycles cannot be brought on this route.
* All CATA bus routes are wheelchair accessible access icon|16px.


CATA offers a variety of payment methods and fares.

Cash and CATACash

Riders paying by cash use the following fare structure for each one-way trip. All transfers from one route to another are free and valid up to two hours. Transfer may not be used to make a return trip.

*Seniors, disabled, all Medicare card holders, and students: $0.60
*Children under convert|42|in|cm tall: Free
*All others: $1.25

CATACash cards are issued through the farebox as change during cash transactions.

Tokens and passes

Riders may use one CATA token for a one-way trip; again, transfers to another route are free. Tokens may be purchased for $1.25 each or in sets of 10 for $10.00 at various retail outlets around the area. They cannot be purchased on board buses.

Various bus passes are available that may be used on any numbered route (except commuter lot pass). They may be purchased at various retail outlets in the area or online at CATA's website. There are also passes for paratransit services such as CATA Rural Service and Spec-Tran.
*10-Ride Pass: $10.00 ($6.00 for seniors, disabled, Medicare card holders, and students)
*31-Day Pass (unlimited rides for 31 days): $35.00 ($18.00 for seniors, disabled, Medicare card holders, and students)
*Student Semester Pass (unlimited rides for one semester, for students only): $50.00
*MSU Commuter Lot Pass (unlimited rides on Route 32 only): $20.00 for one semester, $33.00 for two semesters

Bicycles on CATA

Bicycle racks are installed on the front of all CATA buses, except the trolley-style busses. Each bus can accommodate up to two bicycles. Non-safety bicycles, such as recumbents and tandems, are not allowed.

CATA also rents out bike lockers located in downtown Lansing, East Lansing, and LCC.


CATA is governed by a board of directors:
*Three members representing the City of Lansing:
**Pete Kuhnmuench (Vice-chair)
**R. John Strolle
**Dirck Terwilliger
*Two members representing the City of East Lansing:
**Ralph Monsma
**Jean Golden
*Two members representing Meridian Township:
**Patricia Munshaw (Board chair)
**Pat Cannon
*One member representing Lansing Township:
**Joseph Sambaer (Secretary-Treasurer)
*One member representing Delhi Township:
**Walter Dell
*One non-voting member representing Ingham County:
**Mark Grebner
*One non-voting member representing Michigan State University:
**Michael A. Rice


CATA won APTA's "America's Best Transit System" award for 1991 in the medium-size category, and again for 2007 in the 4–30 million annual passenger trips category. In 2003, Sandy Draggoo, CATA's executive director, received the APTA "Outstanding Public Transportation Manager in North America" award.

Bus fleet

*(1) - mostly retired
*(2) - occasional units may be retired


* [ 2006 CATA Community Report]
* [ Lansing State Journal: CATA logs 10 million riders over year]
* [ Lansing State Journal: 'Little ol' farm girl' wins transit award]
* [*/ repository of CATA website since 1996]

External links

* [ Capital Area Transportation Authority] - official site.

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