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Welcome to 2020: A new year of opportunity

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community, Employees

[A CATA Nova bus leaving the garage]

It’s a new year, full of new opportunities to serve our riders and the community.

As we begin this new year -- and new decade -- we want to continue to connect, learn and grow with all of you. With expanding features like USB charging ports on our Nova buses and solar lights at bus stops, we are always striving for improvement. These improvements are made possible through community partnerships and constructive feedback. 

Our partnership with the Capital Area District Libraries could bring Wi-Fi to some of our buses. Our service agreement with Michigan State University will keep on-campus bus services free for years to come.

This year, we will continue using our digital channels as a way for riders to see beyond the busses and buildings of CATA. We are a fleet of strong, driven and inspired people who love this city and all those we serve. 

We want you to meet Craig Frazier and our paratransit department, who are asking “What if?” to open dialogue on how to serve clients better. We want you to hear Ron DeLeon’s story on what it means to serve CATA for 21 years and counting as a bus driver.  

With mindsets and employees like these, the future of CATA is shining brightly. But it can only shine with strong community relationships. So how might we get to know each other better?

Let’s start with a tour. Meet some of the faces and places behind the scenes at CATA.

Since this video was made, we were fortunate to surpass 11 million rides for 2019. Thank you for working with us to make the future of Greater Lansing public transit as promising as ever.

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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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A Legacy of Compassion

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Categories: Community, Employees

Two men standing next to each other

Jason (left) with brother Jeremy (right).

It’s a gift when your co-workers feel like family.

It can be an even greater gift when your co-workers are your family.

“Jason and I worked side-by-side for eight years,” CATA bus driver Jeremy Baragar said about his younger brother.

Jeremy will mark his 20-year anniversary with CATA in October.

Jason never will.

In 2014, while riding his motorcycle after work, Jason was hit by a driver who never saw him coming. He was killed.

Jason’s family knew he was a registered organ donor, and he was able to donate his heart, his liver and both kidneys; he saved the lives of four men.

“Jay just loved to help people,” Jeremy said. “He was always there for people. He could smooth anything out.”

The Holt Community Foundation, a non-profit started by Dr. John Girdwood, teamed up with Jeremy to start the Jason Baragar Memorial Shootout. The event allows Jeremy to honor his brother while supporting the tightknit community they grew up in.

This year’s event will be held on April 20, and it will benefit both the Holt Pop-up Pantry, which helps students who are in need of food, toiletries or other necessities, and the Holt Varsity Baseball team. The current coach, Keith Allen, was lifelong friend and former teammate of Jason.

“I’m just trying to fulfill needs like he would have,” Jeremy said.

The daylong event features a 16-team tournament bracket, trophies and T-shirts. Last year’s event raised $7,000 for the pop-up pantry. And from the beginning, CATA has been the title sponsor.

“CATA has always been so good to me; so good to us,” Jeremy said. “Before Jason’s accident, a longtime driver died of cancer. So, CATA created a memorial wall to honor people who died during their service there.”

“They’ve been such a huge support to me and my family. The former CEO even gave Jason’s eulogy.”

Jeremy said the fact that Jason also worked at CATA has helped keep his brother’s memory alive when he’s at work.

“We speak about him a lot. It was a blessing to work next to Jay for eight years and have an employer who really supports me,” Jeremy said. “And the fact that they’re helping me do good for my community in his name means a lot.”

Baragar family viewing CATA's memorial wall 

The Baragar family viewing CATA's memorial wall in 2015. 

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