CATA to Temporarily Suspend F, G, and S Routes, Adjust Frequencies in Response to Staffing Shortages
As the result of severe staffing shortages, the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is temporarily suspending its CATABUS F (Pine Grove), G (Gray's Woods), and S (Science Park) routes. Additionally, service on the K Route (Cato Park) will end at approximately 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. These service changes are effective Monday, September 20.
Additional changes in service frequency will occur Monday, October 4, when P Route (Boalsburg) service will end at approximately 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and weekday service on the N, R, V, W, and HM routes will drop to hourly Monday through Saturday after 7:00 p.m. Adjusted timetables will be available as they are finalized at www.catabus.com.
"Similar to many businesses locally and across the country, we are experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages. CATA currently finds itself in the situation of not having enough employees to cover scheduled transportation service," said Louwana Oliva, CATA CEO & Executive Director. "We have all hands on deck, and everyone with a CDL is being asked to get behind the wheel, but staffing is too thin to handle any type of absence that may arise. If this continues, in some cases our only option will be to cancel bus trips on the spot, leading to service reliability issues. Think of it as similar to rolling blackouts that occur when demand is too high for the electrical grid. If we don't attempt to shift staffing resources, our customers could be impacted with no notice."
Most of the CATABUS service previously suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been reinstated. "In addition, we're experiencing new ridership levels and trends mid-day, which has left riders on the curb when the buses become full. We have some service that can't meet demand, while other routes are experiencing very low usage. Where we can, we are reducing the frequency of trips, but maintaining some level of service where ridership levels are approximately 300 passengers per hour. While we understand that everyone's bus service is important, we need to make difficult decisions to shift available staffing resources away from low ridership routes and times of day to meet overall demand and serve the most people. The result is these temporary service changes while we continue to work on bus driver recruitment," Oliva added.
Those affected by these service changes are encouraged to contact CATA's Customer Service Center at (814) 238-CATA(2282) to discuss transportation needs and possible alternatives. Anyone interested in becoming a CATA bus driver can apply at catabus.com/careers.