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Centre Area Transportation Authority
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 52 Buses, 6 Paratransit Vehicles
Daily ridership 17,200
Fuel type CNG
Chief executive Hugh A. Mose
Web site
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

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.)

There also two regular routes (also known as the "Centre Line") that are fare-free at all bus stops on campus. These routes overlap the busiest portion of the Loop and Link routes, and help ease congestion on the Loop and Link for passengers to travel across campus:

Major Service Routes

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.

  • "A" Park Forest- Park Forest Village to Campus
  • "B" Boalsburg- Boalsburg and Willow Brook to Campus
  • "C" Houserville- Penn Hills to Campus
  • "F" Pine Grove- The Meadows to Downtown
  • "G" Stormstown- Stormstown to Downtown
  • "H" Toftrees (No Fare On Campus)- Woodycrest to Campus
  • "K" Cato Park- Cato Park to Campus
  • "M" Nittany Mall- Nittany Mall to Campus
  • "N" Martin St./Aaron Dr.- Overlook Heights to Campus
  • "NV" Martin St./Vairo Blvd. (Operates only on weekdays during Fall and Spring Semesters)- Woodycrest and Overlook Heights to Campus
  • "P" Airport/Mount Nittany Medical Center/Scenery Park (No Fare On Campus)- University Park Airport to Scenery Park
  • "R" Waupelani Dr.- Greentree to Campus
  • "R" (Waupelani Dr. Express) (Operates only on weekdays during Fall and Spring Semesters)- Greentree to Campus
  • "S" Science Park- Technology Park to Campus
  • "UT" University Terrace (Operates only on weekdays during Fall and Spring Semesters)- University Terrace to Campus
  • "V" Vairo Blvd.- Woodycrest to Downtown
  • "W" Valley Vista- Gray's Woods to Downtown
  • "X" Bellefonte/Pleasant Gap- Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap to Nittany Mall

Gameday Football Shuttle

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 in 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

  • $1.25 for each bus route (excluding the Blue Loop, White Loop, Red Link, Green Link, and on-campus portions for the "P" and "H" buses).
  • Senior citizens 65 and older: Free
  • Individuals with disabilities: Half Fare ($0.60)


CATA operates 52 buses for its fixed route, and 4 Paratransit mini-buses.

Model Bus Number Length Width Total
New Flyer C40LF 78-93 40' 102" 15
New Flyer C35LF 38-49, 66-77 35' 102" 13
Orion V 50-65 40' 100" 16
ElDorado EZ Rider II 94-97 30' 96" 4
Ford Mini-Bus 4-8  ?  ? 5
Dodge Sprinter 3  ?  ? 1

Hydrogen Bus Project

One of CATA's buses (Bus #85) is 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.

Future Enhancements

Bus Replacement Project

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.


  • Coincidentally, CATA shares the same initials as the Capital Area Transportation Authority in Lansing, Michigan, which provides bus transportation for Michigan State University, who is a Big Ten rival to Penn State since both schools compete for the Land Grant Trophy each year during the regular season in football. Interestingly, both transit authorities were also founded the same year.
  • 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]

External links


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