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Craig Frazier: What If?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

What if?

That’s the question buzzing from our paratransit department lately. 

“What if the holiday spirit extended all year?” asked Paratransit Supervisor Craig Frazier in a department email. “If all the rules, boundaries and constraints were gone, what could we do to make our service better?”

Paratransit supervisor Craig Frazier at his desk

Some of CATA’s paratransit riders rely on our Spec-Tran service to take them to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Each month, the food bank chooses a Saturday and a new location to launch a pop-up event.

“This often creates issues with our Saturday Spec-Tran service,” Craig said, “as the clients can’t always give us an exact return time.” He said for some clients, the food bank may provide a majority of their monthly groceries.

Thus, the paratransit department asked the key question: What if? 

What if we provided a special food bank shuttle for all participating Spec-Tran clients?

They answered this question last month, when they launched a six-hour bus run to the South Church of the Nazarene, November’s mobile food bank location. On a chilly, 20 degree day, volunteers of all ages set up food while our Spec-Tran picked up clients.

Greater Lansing Food Bank outdoor setup and volunteers

 

The Spec-Tran then drove these same clients home as they finished up at the food bank. They shuttled passengers in waves that accommodated their needs.

“This is just one example of what can be done to make a great service even better,” said Craig. The department is continuing to generate new ideas to enhance services.

What if all the rules and constraints were gone -- what could you do to help those around you?

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CATA Gets Smart

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community

CATA smart bus shelter

Have you noticed something new on Cedar Street? No, we’re not talking about the Holt Quality Dairy that recently got a facelift – we’re talking about CATA’s brand-new smart shelter.

The newly installed shelter is just south of Mt. Hope Rd in front of Foster Community Health Center. This one isn’t like our other shelters, though: Thanks to the Lansing Board of Water and Light, it’s complete with LED lighting, a USB-charging center, public Wi-Fi and a real-time bus-tracking display. Even better, the powered shelter supports CATA’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy.

Keep your eyes peeled around Lansing in the coming months, as there are more smart shelters yet to be installed.

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Finding love in an unlikely place

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community

Young couple sitting on a bus stop benchFor most people, riding the bus leads somewhere physical. Somewhere real. Maybe someplace rather perfunctory.

You take the bus to work. You ride it to go shopping. You hop onboard to get to class on the other side of campus.

For Eva Phan, a CATA bus took her to the next chapter in her life. She met her now-fiancé sitting in a bus shelter in front of MSU’s Brody Hall.

“It’s become a running joke in our relationship,” Eva said. “’If you want to find love, you have to go to the bus stop!’”

Ten years ago, Eva was a freshman studying human biology at Michigan State. She had to get to a chemistry test across campus but was unsure of the exam’s location. She saw Jeff Boore waiting for the bus and recognized him from her class.

“I followed him off the bus,” she said. “We were kind of wandering around separately, and he asked if I was in his class.” She told him she was, and they discovered neither of them knew how to get to Conrad Hall. This was before smartphones, so no one could do a quick check on Google Maps.

They went into the wrong building, and someone showed them the way.

“The whole time I was trying to chat him up, and he was not having it,” Eva said, laughing. “I thought, ‘He’s not that nice!’ I thought I’d never talk to him again.”

Later in the semester, she needed chemistry help, so she reached out to him on a whim.

They hit it off and talked all night. And when they went on their first date?

“We took the CATA bus to Noodles & Co.!”

Eva and Jeff dated all through college – she finished her bachelor’s degree in 2012; he stuck around for a master’s degree and finished in 2013. Their careers took them to San Francisco, where they live now. Last July, Jeff proposed.

When it came time to shoot engagement photos, their photographer asked if there was any particular spot that was meaningful to them.

“We told her, ‘Actually, the bus stop,’” Eva said.

They posed in the bus shelter, and they even climbed on an empty bus for a quick photo shoot, thanks to a friendly and accommodating driver.

Eva shared one of the photos on Facebook with the caption, “We found love in a hopeless place,” referencing the Rihanna/Calvin Harris song. But they don’t see the bus stop as hopeless at all. To the contrary.

“The bus stop means a lot to us,” Eva said. “Every single time we come back to campus we go see it. It makes us happy. It brings us back to being freshmen.”

     Young couple holding hands inside CATA bus

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