RIDEpass (Graduate Students)

The RIDEpass mass transit program provides access to all CATABUS routes to eligible University Park graduate students for only $21 per month. Transportation Services covers the remaining cost of each graduate student mass transit pass to encourage the use of mass transit, reduce vehicle congestion on campus, and promote sustainable transportation.

COVID19 Update: Individuals will need to determine if use of CATA services during the COVID-19 pandemic is right for them, but it is strongly encouraged that use be limited to essential trips. Students, faculty and staff living closer to campus are encouraged to walk or bike where possible.CATA will not be specifically restricting the number of riders on each vehicle but will require all passengers to wear a face covering while waiting for or riding on CATA services, and to practice social distancing when and where possible, as part of its fall 2020 passenger protocols. CATA has also implemented a daily schedule of disinfecting all vehicles through rigorous industrial electrostatic cleaning and sanitation.


  • Must be enrolled in the current semester as a graduate, law or medical student, with University Park as the primary campus of enrollment
  • Must live off campus at a residence that does not already participate in a CATABUS program
  • Must live more than 0.75 miles (walking distance) from a CATA campus service Blue Loop or Red Link stop to be eligible for the RIDEpass program. (Not sure if your address qualifies? Try using our distance webtool here).
  • Must live within the CATA community service area
  • May not have a daytime-access Penn State parking permit (or must return this permit when purchasing the RIDEpass mass transit pass), but may register for an evening/weekend parking permit
  • Graduate student mass transit passes are valid at any time on all regular CATABUS routes
  • Passes are not transferable and may be used only for the transportation of the individual to whom the pass is issued
  • Passes are the property of Penn State Transportation Services and must be returned upon termination of enrollment or eligibility or upon request by Penn State Transportation Services or CATA
  • Graduate student mass transit passes are not valid on any other CATA service, including CENTRE RIDE, the Football Shuttle, Charters, or any special shuttle services, whether open to the public or not
  • Participants must pay a $25 non-refundable processing fee for all lost or stolen passes, regardless of whether a replacement is issued
  • All participants MUST bring their Penn State ID card and a document verifying the address used to apply for the program. You will not be issued a pass without these documents. Acceptable documents for address verification include a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit, valid state identification card, current lease/rental agreement, property tax receipt, recent utility bill, recent paycheck, recent change of address mailer from the Postal Service, and recent credit card or bank account statement. All “recent” documents must be dated within 4 weeks of pick-up.
  • 2020-2021 RIDEpass permits will expire on May 31, 2021.


Online registration for the 2020-2021 RIDEpass program is now available.

Upon successful completion of the application, participants will receive a confirmation email with details regarding when passes will be available for pickup at the Transportation Services Office.

With no cap on the number of program participants, interested faculty, staff and graduate students may apply at any time throughout the 2020-2021 program year. However, incoming graduate students will not be eligible to apply for the program until the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 17, a week before their first term with the university begins. Once eligible, graduate students may apply for and pick up the RIDEpass card.


Graduate students participating in the RIDEpass program are required to pay for their pass, in full, at the time of pass pick-up by check or money order (made payable to “The Pennsylvania State University”), major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), or LionCash+. Cash is not currently being accepted due to COVID19 precautions. The amount due is calculated based on the months remaining in the program from the month the student picks up their pass.

Current RIDEpass passes will be valid from the date of receipt through the end of the program year, which will run from July 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021. While participants may exit the program early and receive a prorated refund for unused months remaining on the pass, participants who choose to exit the program before the pass expiration date will not be eligible to re-enter the program until the start of the next program year. Users found in violation of program rules are not entitled to this prorated refund.


Graduate students enrolled in the RIDEpass program are eligible to purchase an evening/weekend parking permit at a cost of $6 per month. This permit provides access to many faculty/staff parking lots beginning at 4 p.m. on weekdays and throughout the day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Participants with the occasional need for parking on weekdays prior to 4 p.m. may use one of the multi-space pay stations at Jordan East or Stadium West to purchase hourly or daily parking at those lots. Visit the Multi-space Pay Stations page for more information on pay station parking.

For more information, call the Transportation Services Office at 865-1436, or email [email protected].