CATA to launch on-demand microtransit pilot program

Posted on September 3, 2019

The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) of State College, Pa., has partnered with TransLoc on a microtransit pilot program (vehicle rendering shown).
The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) of State College, Pa., has partnered with TransLoc on a microtransit pilot program (vehicle rendering shown).CATA

The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) of State College, Pa., has partnered with TransLoc on a microtransit pilot program which will provide flexible and dynamic on-demand shuttle service to passengers in the nearby town of Bellefonte.

The program, which will be referred to as CATAGO!, will debut on January 11, 2020, and will allow customers to use any of the same fare media currently used on CATA’s fixed-route service.

CATA currently operates both CATABUS fixed-route and CATARIDE paratransit service within the Bellefonte community. While these services provide needed and critical benefits for those living there, ridership is significantly less and cost per passenger is significantly more than for corridors in the immediate State College and Pennsylvania State University areas. To create as much efficiency as
possible within its fixed-route service area, CATA partnered with Transloc to determine the viability of microtransit in the Bellefonte area.

CATA chose to pilot the program in this area because it encompasses destinations such as the county courthouse, county offices, and a number of businesses that would generate trips to and from the area, as well as a street infrastructure that supports timely passenger pick-ups and drop-offs within the microtransit zone.

The interest in piloting this style of service was the result of a recently completed study on alternative transportation options in low-density transit corridors, which was outlined as a priority for research in CATA’s strategic plan.

“While we are told the majority of microtransit pilot programs that have launched across the country provide for transit service to areas not previously served by fixed-route transit, this one will actually be used to determine the viability of complementing, and possibly replacing, existing fixed-route bus service in low-density corridors,” notes CATA GM Louwana Oliva. “This service will
greatly improve residents’ ability to move about the entire Bellefonte community, whereas the current fixed-route service has limited coverage and low mid-day and evening frequency.”

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