Today we’re going to talk on-campus transportation. As a Penn State tour guide who gives the campus transportation spiel at least once a week, I’m here to enlighten you about the CATA bus service.
CATA Bus Service
On campus, the CATA bus service offers four free bus routes. These routes are free, and all you have to do is hop on. You read that correctly. No ID, no money, just hop on and hop off when needed.
- Sometimes referred to as the “Bloop,” the Blue Loop will likely be your most frequented bus. The route runs clockwise around campus about every 5-12 minutes during peak hours (M-F 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) hitting all the good stops: East Halls, the library, Bryce Jordan Center, the HUB and even downtown on College Ave. Enjoy the buses while you can in the fall, becuase once it gets cold they typically get so overcrowded that you’re better off walking.
- Pro-tip: all of the on -campus buses stop at the Pattee Transit Center (better known as the library). No need to pull the string. Seriously, just don’t do it.
- Apparently people call this the “whoop.” I think that’s ridiculously lame. Any-who, the white loop is a saving grace for all who live in downtown State College apartments and for freshman who want a quick ride to the library or the Forum Building from East Halls. In addition to running counter-clockwise around campus, this bus goes downtown on Beaver Avenue. For those who like to party…uh I mean study late at night, it runs until 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
- And just like the blue loop, this bus suffers from overcrowding as well. Senior staff writer Matthew Lamas could tell you countless stories of how the bus has passed the Merdian stop on cold snowy days without letting people on becuase it was full.
- While not as frequently used, this bus is still really important because it stops at the Mt. Nittany Medical Center as well as Innovation Park, or what Penn State calls the”ecosystem where business, education and research come together.” If you ever need to visit the hospital for any reason (like getting a concussion playing IM soccer), this bus will get you there and back. In addition, if you’re a College of Communications student, you’ll probably need this bus as a few classes as well as extracurricular clubs are housed out there. Also, if you’re headed to the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center for a fancy banquet, the bus makes a stop there, too.
- I’m going to be honest, I’ve gotten on this bus a total of one time in my college career, and that was out of desperation. In fact, I didn’t even know where the bus went, but it was headed in the direction I needed to go. Supposedly, the bus goes from the commuter lots to campus. Seeing that you won’t have a car on campus freshman year, consider it a mini Blue Loop that ends at Medlar Field. Yeah, that’s all I got for this bus.
Along with the on-campus service, CATA also offers service to off-campus destinations as well. For only $1.75 each way (or tokens, but those are hard to find), you can get service to popular places such as Wal-Mart, Target and the Nittany Mall. These buses are also great for off-campus students who live further than downtown State College.
So there you have it, your complete guide to the CATA bus system. And with everything else in the world, there’s an app for that. There are two iPhone CATA bus apps: CATA and myStop Mobile. For Android users, there’s CATA+ and myStop Mobile.
Good luck, and don’t look too much like a freshman riding the buses.