Centre County, Pa- Drivers for the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA), rarely get off work due to snow.
CATA officials say it takes a lot to close down bus service.
“I’ve been here 18 years, and we’ve only shut down once… usually that’s because emergency responders need to get onto the roadways to clear them,” said Jacqueline Sheader, Public Relations Specialist for CATA.
Sheader added that the roads, and consequently bus service, usually don’t stay closed for a long time.
“If our drivers were to see an instance where a road was blocked, or something was off where they couldn’t get through… we would work with the local authorities to make changes to help get them through,” she said.
CATA values this partnership with local road crews.
“We think they’re absolutley wonderful, they’re doing a great job keeping the roads as clear as they possibly can for us, which is very appreciated,” Sheader said.
It’s especially appreciated because of the full buses CATA typically sees when weather systems roll into the area.
“We have a big increase in ridership anytime there’s bad weather, anytime there’s a lot of rain, anytime there’s a lot of snow…. we see a large passenger increase in residential areas, and in our commuter routes,” Sheader said.
Skyllar Beckel, a Penn State Student echoed Sheader saying, “I feel like I usually see a lot of people on the bus, and less cars out.”
Why is that? Many say given the choice between taking the bus, and driving your car… one option is much safer.
“Taking the bus, just because they probably have more experience than me driving in the snow. And I feel safer in the bus than driving in these conditions by myself,” Beckel said.
CATA had a slightly altered bus schedule on Wednesday because Penn State closed campus for the day.
They say they hope to be back to offering regular service Thursday. CATA did not shut down any bus routes as a result of the Wednesday’s weather.