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CATA cuts bus services due to staffing shortages

CATA Office
Becky Marcinko
The CATA office on Beaver Avenue on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 in State College, Pa.

After making service cuts in September and early October, Centre Area Transportation Authority announced more reductions, effective Monday.

CATA Public Relations Specialist Jacqueline Sheader said the changes will be temporary.

The changes include the suspension of the Green Link and all Sunday services. All buses — aside from campus Loops and Links — will stop running at 11 p.m. And, the frequency of all Saturday routes will be adjusted from every 40 minutes to every 60 minutes.

Sheader said CATA chose which routes to make changes to by looking at ridership numbers. It also examined whether riders would have alternatives to the cut services. Sheader said those who would normally ride the Green Link can use the Red Link or Blue or White Loops instead.

“We don’t want to cut service at all — it’s kind of a necessary evil right now,” Sheader said. “The decisions were tough.”

These reductions are due to staffing shortages, similar to other worker shortages companies across the state and country are experiencing, Sheader said.

She said CATA currently has approximately 85 drivers and is in need of 20-30 more. However, she said there’s a “lengthy training process” once drivers are hired.

“Right now we're in full recruitment mode, so we’re trying to get as many drivers as we can on,” Sheader said. “If we can hire people as fast as we possibly can, we’re hoping that by the end of the calendar year, we’ll have all of those people ready to go.”

Sheader said CATA hopes to reinstate full service next year.

“We’re anticipating and planning for through the end of the calendar year, but it’s certainly likely that there will be changes when full service starts in January.”