Riding CATA during COVID-19: Press Releases from March 20 through May 26, 2020
CATA closes for Memorial Day holiday; resumes modified summer service May 26
Lansing, Mich. – In observance of Memorial Day, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will be closed Monday, May 25, 2020. This holiday closure will affect all CATA services, including current fixed-route, Spec-Tran, Redi-Ride, Connector and CATA Rural Service operations.
On Memorial Day the Spec-Tran office will schedule trips by phone at 517-394-CATA (2282) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for rides on or after Tuesday, May 26. Spec-Tran rides can also be arranged online at myspectran.org. No same-day ride-scheduling will be permitted. All paratransit services resume at their regular weekday times Tuesday, May 26, and will continue to be fare-free until further notice.
Modified fare-free regular service to resume
With few exceptions, most routes that are currently suspended will resume normal weekday service Tuesday, May 26. The fare will remain free until further notice. Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 46 and 48 will operate according to their regular weekday schedules, with modified summer break service on routes outlined below. Saturday and Sunday service will continue on routes with established weekend schedules.
Modified summer break service includes:
- Route 1– Downtown Lansing/Meridian Mall: There will be no late-night service on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. The final trips will depart the CATA Transportation Center at 10:20 p.m. and the Meridian Mall at 10:40 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Departures from bus stops along downtown Lansing’s Capitol Loop will occur up to 8 minutes later than usual Monday through Friday evenings.
- Route 12 – W. Michigan/Waverly/LCC West: Buses will not travel west of Waverly Road as the route operates according to the weekday breaks and holiday schedule.
- Route 17 – Grab & Go Express: This service will remain suspended until further notice.
- Route 20 – S. Harrison/Jolly/Dunckel: Buses will continue to travel into Spartan Village and to the MSU-CATA Transportation Center while continuing to serve the boarding area at the corner of Shaw Lane and Farm Lane throughout the summer.
- Route 22 – MSU/Haslett/Okemos: Buses will travel into the MSU-CATA Transportation Center while continuing to serve the boarding area at the corner of Shaw Lane and Farm Lane.
- Route 23 – MSU/Okemos/Haslett: Monday through Friday, between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., buses will run every 35 to 45 minutes. The MSU-CATA Transportation Center will also be served by Route 23.
- Route 24 – East Lansing/E. Lake Lansing Road: Buses will operate Monday through Friday every 30 minutes until 6:15 p.m. and continue to travel to MSU’s Ramp 5 on Red Cedar.
- Route 25 – North Harrison: Route 25 weekday buses will operate every 60 minutes and continue to travel to MSU’s Ramp 5 on Red Cedar throughout the summer.
- Route 26 – Abbot/Chandler: Weekday buses will operate every 45 minutes and conclude service at 7:15 p.m. There will be no Thursday, Friday or Saturday late-night service to downtown East Lansing. Saturday service will continue to end at 7:15 p.m. Sunday service concludes as usual at 6:30 p.m.
- Route 32 – Commuter Lot/Snyder Hall/Clinical Center: Summer service is currently suspended.
Until further notice, all CATA operators and passengers are required to wear a face mask or covering and observe the prescribed social distance of 6 feet while on the bus. Passengers should board and alight at the rear door and refrain from standing in the bus aisle.
The CATA Transportation Center in downtown Lansing, the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway in East Lansing and CATA’s Administrative Office in south Lansing continue to remain closed until further notice.
For further information, please contact a Customer Experience Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-394-1000 weekdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May 4, 2020: CATA resumes limited regular-bus service; no mask, no ride
Some services to resume Monday – social distancing required
Lansing, Mich. – Effective Monday, May 4, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will resume operations at a modified level of weekday bus service, while weekend service will return to regular levels for most routes.
In its ongoing commitment to the safety, health and well-being of employees, customers and the public, CATA operators and riders will be required to wear a face mask or face covering. Service will continue to operate fare-free, with passengers boarding and alighting at the rear door. New measures also include signage inside buses to ensure that riders observe the prescribed social distance of 6 feet. Riders will not be permitted to stand in bus aisles.
CATA’s public facilities remain closed until further notice, including the Administration Building in Lansing, the CATA Transportation Center on Grand Avenue in downtown Lansing and the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway in East Lansing.
“CATA is proceeding with caution as we resume service in phases to accommodate the needs of our riders – many who represent our region’s most disadvantaged populations,” said CATA CEO Bradley T. Funkhouser. “We are adhering to the governor’s orders and have partnered with the Ingham County Health Department to ensure that our fleet-sanitization and disinfecting protocols – which occur between trips, at shift change and at the end of service each day – are of the highest standard. Personal-protection equipment is issued to all employees, and a no-mask, no-ride rule will be firmly in place.”
Additionally, hand-sanitizer dispensers have been ordered and will be installed on CATA’s 40-foot and 60-foot buses.
“CATA has been a diligent and conscientious partner, working closely with the Health Department so they can maximize safety for their riders,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “They have integrated all recommended safety measures into their protocols. With proper precautions such as social distancing, the use of face coverings and good hand hygiene, people can safely use the buses to make essential trips. Many of our citizens rely on public transportation to access their workplaces and many other essential needs, so a gradual and cautious reopening of public transportation is a critical step to meet the needs of the community.”
Service is scheduled to resume as follows:
Spec-Tran & CATA Rural Service
Spec-Tran will resume regular service seven days a week. CRS will operate its normal schedule Monday through Friday.
Weekday & Saturday Service
Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 will operate according to their regular Saturday schedule. Route 1 will not operate after 11 p.m. as late-night service remains suspended. Route 20 will travel into Spartan Village.
Routes 6, 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 46 and 48 are not normally in service on Saturday and, therefore, remain suspended until further notice. Meridian, Delhi and Mason Redi-Ride; and Mason and Williamston-Webberville Connectors will also resume normal Saturday service.
The Shopping Bus will not operate at this time.
Unless otherwise notified, customers should refer to Saturday schedules for all fixed-route and paratransit services.
Routes 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 25 and 26 will operate according to their regular Sunday service beginning May 10. As a reminder, Routes 6, 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 22 and 23 do not operate on Sunday.
CATA’s COVID-19 hotline and special demand-response service will be discontinued at the end of service Sunday, May 3. Beginning May 4, Customer Experience Representatives will be available at 517-394-1000, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; CATA Paratransit phone lines will be available at 517-394-2282 Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Spec-Tran schedulers will be available Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Service updates and Rider Alerts will continue to be posted at cata.org.
CATA Emergency Service Hotline Hours, Effective Until May 4
Customers in need of a free curb-to-curb ride should call 517-999-2549 during the hours listed below. We appreciate your patience when calling as call volume is extremely high. Call takers are working very hard to schedule your critically essential, medical or work trip according to your travel needs. Delays should be expected, but please know we are committed to getting you to your destination as efficiently as possible.
- Call hours: 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Service hours: 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Call hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Service hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Call hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Service hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
April 26, 2020: Face mask/covering requirements
Under Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Executive Order No. 2020-59, all persons entering an enclosed public space must wear a face mask/cover that covers both the nose and mouth. CATA vehicles are considered "enclosed public spaces," requiring all operators and clents to utilize face masks/covering while in them.
Effective Monday morning, April 27, CATA will require face masks/coverings that cover the nose and mouth in order to ride. Failure to wear a covering will result in the driver refusing transportation and canceling the ride at the point of pick up. Some medical exceptions will be considered.
CATA extends service suspension, facilities closure and work-from-home directive
COVID-19 containment effort remains in effect through May 15
Lansing, Mich. – Following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s third extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will maintain its suspension of regular-route bus service through May 15. Originally in effect from March 23 through April 5, the suspension was extended until April 13 and, again, through May 1, in alignment with the governor’s executive orders. This latest extension continues to apply to the closure of CATA’s public facilities, including the Administration Building in Lansing, the CATA Transportation Center on Grand Avenue in downtown Lansing and the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway in East Lansing. Additionally, CATA’s work-from-home directive will remain in effect for all but a small contingent of mission-critical employees who comprise the agency’s Pandemic Response Team.
“In accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 59, CATA will continue to provide free demand-response service for those requiring life-sustaining services, including but not limited to medical trips, such as cancer and dialysis treatments; trips for critical infrastructure workers; trips for groceries, banking and prescriptions; and other exceptions as permitted by executive order,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “In our ongoing commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our employees, customers and the public, CATA will continue to issue personal-protection equipment to employees, sanitize buses throughout the day, and disinfect them at the end of service. Additionally, in conjunction with the executive order, riders should wear a mask. We are not equipped to provide trips for those who have tested positive for or believe that they have COVID-19. Instead, please call the Lansing Emergency Operations Center at 9-1-1.”
Funkhouser added that planning is well underway to resume service in phases once the stay-at-home order is relaxed or lifted. CATA’s ridership during the containment period is holding steady at approximately 1,000 trips per day.
Individuals with eligible transportation needs should call CATA’s hotline at 517-999-2549 for trip-scheduling. Updates regarding CATA’s response to COVID-19 will continue to be posted at cata.org.
April 9, 2020: CATA extends service suspension, facilities closure and work-from-home directive through April 30
In concert with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s April 30 extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will continue its suspension of regular-route bus service through the end of April. The suspension was originally in effect from March 23 through April 5, then extended
until April 13. This latest extension applies to the closure of CATA’s public facilities, including the Administration Building in Lansing, the CATA Transportation Center on Grand Avenue in downtown Lansing and the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway in East Lansing. Additionally, CATA’s work-from-home directive will remain in effect for all but a small contingent of mission-critical employees.
“Our free demand-response services will continue to provide life-sustaining and medical trips, as well as trips for critical infrastructure workers,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “In our ongoing effort to help contain the coronavirus spread, CATA has effectively reduced ridership to about 1,000 daily trips, accommodating only essential transportation needs in accordance with the governor’s executive
Individuals with eligible transportation needs should call CATA’s emergency hotline at 517-999-2549 to schedule a trip.
March 20, 2020: CATA to provide necessary trips only
Regular-route bus service to be suspended Monday
Lansing, Mich. – Coinciding with recent service reductions designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, ridership aboard the Capital Area Transportation Authority’s regular-route buses has declined substantially but remains higher than recommended to meet social-distancing guidelines, as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To ensure successful containment efforts, as recommended by the CDC, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and state and local public health experts, CATA will suspend all regular bus-route service, effective Monday, March 23, through Sunday, April 5, or until further notice. Instead, CATA will offer free demand-response service for the community’s most vulnerable populations, as well as its essential workforce, key government employees and those who support our critical infrastructure.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “We recognize the hardship it presents for members of our community. These are truly unprecedented times and CATA – along with our regional partners, including Michigan State University and Ingham County – is working to ensure that transportation remains an option for those with critical, medical and work-related needs.”
City of Lansing Mayor Andy Schor added, "The City of Lansing and all of our partners are working together to do everything we can to keep everyone safe and healthy. By offering on-demand service, CATA is encouraging social distancing by not having people wait in large groups for a bus. I have confidence that CATA will be able to continue to serve those who need necessary transportation to get to work, medical appointments or other critical places."
Confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to increase in CATA’s service area and across Michigan, causing concern for Nathan Triplett, CATA Board Chair.
“This was a difficult decision, but it is the right decision for the health and safety of our riders, operators and community,” he said. “Alongside our local, state and federal partners, CATA has an obligation to take every measure possible to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, while continuing to transport health care workers, first responders and other members of the essential workforce.”
Katie Kelley, President/Business Agent, Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1039, said the union stands firmly behind CATA’s decision to temporarily suspend service.
“Along with management, we worked very hard to develop a plan that we believe will continue to provide the high level of service our customers have grown accustomed to, although at a significantly reduced level. We are committed to making sure essential transportation is accessible to our community and look forward to getting back to full service as soon as safely possible.”
To date, CATA has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 response and has already taken steps to limit opportunities for community spread. Those measures include closure of facilities, reduction of some services, upgraded bus- and facility-sanitization efforts, distribution of sanitary supplies, installation of sanitization stations and more. Even with these changes, CATA has determined that the volume of its riders continues to present a risk for community-acquired COVID-19. The suspension of regular bus routes is intended to assist with community-mitigation efforts to slow the spread of illness.
To address questions about the impact of COVID-19 on its services and to schedule trips for eligible riders, CATA established an emergency service hotline at 517-999-2549. Updates will continue to be posted to Rider Alerts at CATA.org and @rideCATA on Facebook and Twitter.
We will be adhering to the following definitions provided by EO 2020-16:
- “Essential workforce” includes health care workers, home health workers, direct care workers, emergency medical service providers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, child care workers (including any employees acting as child care workers in essential workforce child care centers), personnel providing correctional services, postal workers, public health employees, key government employees, court personnel, and others providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders.
- “Critical infrastructure” includes utilities, manufacturing, mass transit, and groceries or other essential supplies, goods, or equipment.
- “Key government employees” includes child protective services workers, child welfare workers, foster care workers including those from contracted agencies, recipient rights workers, employees of the Executive Office of the governor, cabinet officers and their designees, Department of Health and Human Services field office staff, Unemployment Insurance Agency employees, and other employees identified by the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget.
March 18, 2020: CATA CEO: 'Do not ride the bus'
CATA closes all public facilities; free fare with rear-door boarding
Lansing, Mich. – In addition to the closure of its downtown transportation center, the Capital Area Transportation Authority closed its Administration Building and the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway, effective immediately. Additionally, to further protect its operators, CATA implemented fare-free trips and will require passengers to board the bus from the rear door and maintain appropriate distance from the bus operator.
“COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges for public transportation,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “If you do not need to ride the bus, I ask you not to.”
Funkhouser reiterated CATA’s commitment to help the community contain the spread of COVID-19 while still providing critically essential medical and work trips.
“Our response to COVID-19 remains ever-changing and fluid. Our drivers have stepped up and agreed to put themselves at risk of infection in order to dedicate service to our most vulnerable riders,” Funkhouser added. “As always in the past, we remain at the ready to assist first responders throughout this crisis. Further reductions and the possible shutdown of all services are possible.”
CATA established at special emergency hotline at 517-999-2549 to address questions about the impact of COVID-19 on its services. Updates will continue to be posted to Rider Alerts at cata.org.
Additionally, the following service reductions will be in effect:
- Route 1: Route 1 weekday service is operating fewer trips.
- Route 5: Route 5 weekday service is operating fewer trips.
- Route 8: Route 8 weekday service is operating fewer trips.
- Route 9: Route 9 weekday service is operating fewer trips.
- Route 17: The free Grab & Go Express route will be suspended until further notice, effective immediately.
- Route 26: This route will continue to operate during the week at a reduced frequency, following its Saturday schedule, operating at a 40-minute frequency, with buses bound for campus beginning at 9:33 a.m.
- Routes 30, 31, 33, 38, and 39 will cease to operate on the campus of Michigan State University beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Weekday service will be replaced by Routes 34, 35 and 36.
- Route 32: Service will continue to operate as usual, Monday – Friday.
For a complete list of departures, visit cata.org Rider Alerts.
March 17, 2020: CATA temporarily closes downtown CTC
COVID-19 containment efforts include service reductions
Lansing, Mich. – To help contain the spread of novel coronavirus and better achieve social distancing, the Capital Area Transportation Authority will temporarily close its downtown transportation center, located at 420 S. Grand Ave., in addition to implementing service reductions on some routes, effective Wednesday, March 18.
“In addressing the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, CATA continues to make employee, rider and public safety its top priority,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “Our goal at this time is to respond as quickly and fluidly as possible to aid in regional containment efforts. As new developments related to COVID-19 arise, CATA may effect additional service adjustments.”
Riders will be permitted to board buses at the CTC from current bus bays. However, face-to-face transactions, including pass sales, will be suspended until further notice. Online fare purchases will continue to be supported at cata.org/Fares/Buy-Online/Products. Customers will not be charged for postage, or shipping or handling fees. Please allow five to seven business days for mail processing. Fareboxes accept cash and issue change only in the form of a CATAcash card, which can be used on any fixed route (not redeemable for cash).
Additionally, service reductions will be in effect. For a complete list of departures, visit cata.org Rider Alerts.
March 16, 2020 Update
Work-from-home directive issued; service reductions planned
The Capital Area Transportation Authority remains committed to the safety and well-being of its workforce, riders and the public. In monitoring the spread of COVID-19, CATA is preparing to implement measures that will help contain the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of infection.
“We recognize that for some riders, we are the only viable means of transportation,” said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser. “In our ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of community members, we have stepped up our cleaning and disinfecting protocol aboard all buses, issued personal-protection supplies, installed sanitation stations at key transportation centers, and are asking riders to limit use of our services at this time to medically necessary trips and access to employers.”
CATA has directed its employees to stay home if they are sick and to follow CDC-recommended guidelines to help mitigate the spread of the virus. CATA issued a work-from-home directive for non-essential employees, effective Tuesday, March 17. Service reductions are currently being considered, which would go into effect Wednesday, March 18. Unless otherwise communicated, these initiatives will remain in effect through April 5.
Additionally, CATA has canceled its March 17 Audit Committee meeting and its March 18 Board of Directors meeting.
Based on information we continue to receive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and state and local public health experts, additional service changes may become necessary to support containment efforts across our region.
CATA will continue to monitor the effectiveness of its containment efforts and ridership needs, making appropriate adjustments as necessary. Where feasible, articulated buses may be deployed to some routes, thereby accommodating CDC-recommended social distancing.
CATA will communicate service changes that result from its containment strategy via cata.org, social media and on-site signage. Service changes will also be reflected through Google Maps Transit and Transit app.
March 11, 2020
At the Capital Area Transportation Authority, our top priority is the safety and well-being of passengers, employees and community members. With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in Michigan, CATA has convened an internal emergency-response task force. While COVID-19 has not been confirmed within our ridership area, the task force is creating a comprehensive action plan that ensures the implementation of best practices and protocols on behalf of all individuals with whom we may come in contact.
The action plan includes the precautionary steps CATA has begun and will continue to implement to meet defined safety objectives, including the potential impact of coronavirus on operations, ridership, vehicle and facility sanitation protocols, workforce, partnerships and budget.
CATA joins other public agencies in proactively combating the spread of this virus. In preparation for COVID-19, we recently upgraded our cleaning standard and frequency by applying a hospital-grade aerosol disinfectant in buses that effectively kills coronavirus and a broad spectrum of other pandemic viruses. We are taking additional containment measures as well.
We recognize the importance of community feedback in decision making and remain committed to ensuring that we welcome and listen to the voice of our riders and community.
CATA will be identifying opportunities to gather input on current projects, including phone briefings, virtual meetings and other avenues for gathering public comment via email, online platforms, mail and phone.
Keep yourself and others healthy by not traveling when you are sick. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, avoid touching your face, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 second and maintain a safe social distance. We also recommend that all residents join us in supporting Gov. Whitmer’s recommendations for Community Mitigation Strategies.
Please visit www.cata.org/Routes-Schedules/Detours-Rider-Alerts to see all service alerts.