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Caroling on the CATA bus

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Categories: Blog, Community

Rose Cooper took her act on the road in a new way this holiday season.

Cooper, who’s best known around greater Lansing as the singing motorcyclist, stores her beloved Harley-Davidson when winter arrives. But she didn’t let that stop her from singing her heart out on the city’s streets recently.

She hopped on a CATA bus to do some caroling.

It started out, as many things do, with a Facebook post: “At some point Friday afternoon, Kevin and I will be taking the #1 CATA bus from downtown to Meridian Mall and back; with the bus driver's permission, singing Christmas/holiday songs along the entire route. Wish us luck!”

Little boy shakes hand of bus driverWhen CATA got wind of Cooper’s plan, they looped in the driver and sent cameras to capture the trip.

“When we got on the bus, before I could even ask the driver if it was OK if we sang, he said ‘I’ve already heard about you.’ I was amazed,” Cooper said.

Cooper and her grandson Kevin, a first grader at Lansing’s Cumberland Elementary School, took the ride to bring cheer to Black Friday shoppers and give Kevin a bit of practice for his school’s upcoming choir concert.

“He’s a shy, sensitive kid, so he didn’t want to sing too much at first,” Cooper said. “But once I started, I could hear him going along.”

They boarded bus No. 1 at the CATA Transportation Center downtown and rode it all the way to the Meridian Mall, singing everything from “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to “Jingle Bells” to “The Dreidel Song.”

“We decided we’d start a new song every time somebody got on,” she said. “It was like we were singing just for them.”

A few people sang along. One man even pulled a red nose out of his coat pocket and put it on as they sang “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Cooper said singing for the CATA passengers and staff was important to her.Little boy sitting in the driver seat of the bus

“When I ride my bike, the CATA people are the coolest people to ride with,” she said. “There’s no competition. They’re not trying to beat me to the light like some cars do. They’re not coming over into my lane. I love riding next to CATA buses, so this was my way of giving back to CATA.”

Despite Kevin’s shy nature, he was excited to climb into the driver’s seat once the bus reached the mall. Cooper said he secretly loves the buses.

“When I’m driving him in my car, he’ll see a CATA bus and ask me to stop so he can get on it,” she said.

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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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