Michigan State University and CATA have signed a new service agreement to make on-campus bus service free to all students, staff and faculty for years to come.
The fare-free service began last year as a pilot. Campus ridership increased by approximately 40%, while overall pedestrian and vehicle traffic decreased during the same period.
“Last year’s trial of providing free bus service to routes on campus proved very successful and extremely popular,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Providing safe, convenient and efficient transportation options for students, faculty and staff is a top priority for MSU's mobility planning. CATA provides a reliable bus system throughout the year, in any weather.”
Under the new amendment to the service agreement, which expires June 30, 2021, fare-free rides will continue for weekday service, including routes 30, 31, 32, 33, 38 and 39; and weekend service on routes 34, 35 and 36. Additionally, as of August 2018, CATA provides bus service during summer, spring and winter breaks on route 32, which serves Ramp 1, the MSU Auditorium, Snyder-Phillips, the Clinical Center and Lot 89. MSU and CATA may make service adjustments from semester to semester as deemed necessary.
“We are elated by our new service agreement with Michigan State University,” said CATA CEO Bradley T. Funkhouser. “Given our 20-year partnership with MSU, in which CATA has served as its primary public-transportation service provider, we are deeply honored by the university’s confidence in us. We look forward to continuing to provide exemplary campus service to students, faculty and staff.”
CATA has provided public transportation to the campus community since April 1999.
Some bus stops on campus will soon include new solar-powered lighting, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund awarded to the Sustainable Spartans student group. These light units will improve safety and students’ awareness of their surroundings as well as help make riders who are waiting for a bus on campus more visible to CATA’s operators.
The new agreement amends the current contract between MSU and CATA, which factors in expenses, federal and state support, and rider usage.