Centre Area Transportation Authority

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Centre Area Transportation Authority
Centre Area Transportation Authority logo.png
Founded 1972
Headquarters 2081 W. Whitehall Road
State College, PA 16801
Locale State College, Pennsylvania
Service area State College
Penn State University
Service type Local transit bus service
Routes 18 Local
4 Fare-Free Within PSU Campus and Downtown State College
Fleet 63 Buses, 6 Paratransit Vehicles
Daily ridership 17,200
Fuel type CNG
Chief executive Hugh A. Mose
Website www.catabus.com
The corporate logo not used on vehicles

The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is a mass transit agency that provides bus transportation within State College, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas, as well as Pennsylvania State University.


The company first started as Centre Area Transit (CAT), which was formed to provide a vehicle to subsidize public transit throughout the region. Then on May 17, 1974, the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) was incorporated. By the end of its first year, CATA was officially up and running and its annual ridership was 201,000. By 1979, ridership was continuing to grow year after year prompting CATA to add more bus routes and well as additional buses built by GMC. It was then in 1990 that ridership had officially hit the two million mark. CATA then revised its bus fleet in 1996 by introducing their first fleet of CNG buses built by Orion Bus Industries. The following year, CATA would eventually phase out the remaining GMC diesel-powered buses, in favor for new state-of-the-art New Flyer low-floor CNG buses. Currently, excluding one hydrogen-powered bus, all of CATA's fleet buses are CNG-powered and ridership has exceeded six million passengers, the majority of riders being Penn State students.

Fare-Free Routes[edit]

In the fall of 1999, CATA and Penn State came up with an agreement in which CATA would take over all bus transportation on campus, which would be fare-free. Four routes were created as part of the agreement: The Blue and White Loop (in conjunction with the school's colors), and the Red and Green Link. All four routes run during the fall and spring semesters, including the summer which operates under a limited service schedule.

  • Blue Loop - Clockwise route around the campus via College Avenue.
  • White Loop - Counterclockwise around the campus via Beaver Avenue.
  • Red Link - Runs from West Campus to Innovation Park via Curtin Road.
  • Green Link - Runs simultaneously with the Red Link from the stadium parking lots to North Atherton, via Curtin Road. (Only in service on weekdays during Fall and Spring Semester.)

Major Service Routes[edit]

CATA's service routes (also known as the "Centre Line") travel around the Penn State campus, downtown State College, and the surrounding areas. All routes run under full service during fall and spring semesters, and reduced service during the summer.

Route Route Corridor Destination
A Park Forest Park Forest Village PSU Campus
  • Part-time
B Boalsburg Tussey Mountain
via Boalsburg and Willow Brook
PSU Campus
  • Part-time
C Houserville Penn Hills PSU Campus
  • Part-time
F Pine Grove The Meadows Downtown
  • Part-time
G Stormstown Stormstown Downtown
  • Part-time
HP Toftrees Geisinger Gray's Woods
via Woodycrest / Toftrees and PSU Campus
Scenery Park
  • Full-time
K Cato Park Cato Park PSU Campus
  • Part-time
M Nittany Mall Nittany Mall PSU Campus
  • Full-time
N Martin Street / Aaron Drive Overlook Heights PSU Campus
  • Full-time
NE Martin Street / Aaron Drive Greentree Commons PSU Campus
  • Express
    (Fall and Spring semesters only)
NV Martin Street / Vairo Blvd.
  • Woodycrest
  • Overlook Heights
PSU Campus
  • Evenings only
    (Fall and Spring semesters only)
R Waupelani Drive Greentree Commons PSU Campus
  • Full-time
S Science Park Science Park PSU Campus
  • Part-time
UT University Terrace University Terrace PSU Campus
  • Evening only
    (Fall and Spring semesters only)
V Vairo Blvd. Woodycrest Downtown
  • Full-time
VE Vairo Blvd. Overlook Heights PSU Campus
  • Express
    (Fall and Spring semesters only)
W Valley Vista CVIM Center via Valley Vista Downtown
  • Full-time
XB Bellefonte Bellefonte Nittany Mall
  • Part-time
XG Pleasant Gap Pleasant Gap Nittany Mall
  • Part-time

Gameday Football Shuttle[edit]

During home Penn State football games, CATA also runs two special service routes which serve as the gameday football shuttle. The Downtown Shuttle runs on a loop through downtown State College en route to Beaver Stadium, with bus stops placed in front of a number of various hotels located along the route. The other route is the South Atherton Shuttle which also runs from a designated parking lot in the Hills Shopping Center to Beaver Stadium, allowing fans to park their cars and take the shuttle to the stadium.

Fare Information[edit]

  • $1.75 for each bus route (excluding the Blue Loop, White Loop, Red Link, Green Link).
  • Senior citizens 65 and older: Free
  • Individuals with disabilities: Half Fare ($0.85)


CATA operates 59 buses (soon to be 62 after 2012 Fleet Upgrade) for its fixed routes. CATA also has 6 Paratransit mini-buses.

Order Year Manufacturer Model Power-train
Fleet Series
Length (ft.) Fuel Propulsion
1996 Orion V
40 CNG
1997 New Flyer C35LF
  • Detroit S50G
    • Allison WB-400R
L35LF 66-73
35 LNG
1998 C35LF
  • Detroit S50G
    • Allison WB-400R
35 CNG
  • Detroit S50G
    • Allison WB-400R
2000 C40LF
  • Detroit S50G
    • Allison WB-400R
2002 C40LF
  • Cummins Westport C-Gas Plus
    • Allison WB-400R
ElDorado National EZ-Rider II
  • Cummins ISL
    • Allison WB-300R
30 Diesel
2012 New Flyer XN40
40 CNG
  • Cummins Westport ISL-G
    • Voith D864.5

2012 Fleet Upgrades[edit]

CATA will take delivery of 28 brand new 40' New Flyer Xcelsior CNG-powered buses by summer 2012. These buses will replace the 16 40' Orion V buses and also the 9 35' New Flyer C35LF LYNX buses (#38-45 and #47) from Orlando, FL. All of the Xcelsior buses will be 40' despite the fact that nine will be replacing 35' buses. This replacement plan will also allow CATA to make a net gain of 3 40' buses in their fleet, as only 25 buses are being replaced.

Hydrogen Bus Project[edit]

One of CATA's buses (Bus #85) was a hydrogen-powered bus, a part of an extensive hydrogen demonstration project that is being conducted by Penn State's Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI). Air Products & Chemicals of Allentown, PA and Collier Technologies of Reno, NV have teamed up to study the possibilities of using Hydrogen as a fuel for public transportation. PTI was able to get funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to convert one of CATA's forty-foot New Flyer C40LF buses to run on HCNG, which is a hydrogen/natural-gas blend. The bus can be seen (and heard, given its distinctive higher-pitched engine noise) primarily on the Blue Loop, as well as the N, R, and V routes. This project has been halted as of 2009.

CNG Buses[edit]

In the summer of 2009, Orlando, FL's Central Florida's Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) donated 10 35' New Flyer buses to CATA. These buses were donated because of CATA's extensive knowledge of CNG powered systems. These buses are most frequently seen on the lower capacity routes, although they occasionally appear on the N, V, R, and NV routes. These buses replaced the six Gillig Phantoms in CATA's fleet.[1]

Future Enhancements[edit]

Bus Replacement Project[edit]

In January 2008, CATA officially received $1.4 million in federal funding earmarks through the Transportation/HUD Appropriations bill for the 2008 fiscal year. With these funds, CATA will begin a fleet replacement project where 10 of the 16 Orion buses will be replaced with newer low-floor CNG-powered models. Following that, the remaining six buses will eventually be replaced with 4 articulated buses to accommodate the demand on the N, R, and V routes during rush-hour on weekdays as well as Penn State football games and other high-profile events.

External links[edit]