Daily Struggles with CATA

Photo by Chrissie Huang

Every Penn State student has a love-hate relationship with the CATA bus system. Valley pulled together a collection of a few daily struggles we’ve been through while dealing with Penn State’s CATA bus loops and links.

Morning Rush


As if the dreaded walk to the bus stop for a 9 a.m. class wasn’t enough, picture this: it’s early, you pulled your third all nighter in a row, you’re running late for class, and now you’re backpack to backpack with 50 strangers. You’re trapped in a cloud of coffee breath and the smell of god knows what from everyone who opted out of their daily shower this morning, and of course you’re side-eyeing anyone who accidentally steps on your toes.  Yikes.

Oh, You Thought the Morning Was Rough?


Weekend nights on the White Loop, or as it’s more popularly dubbed, the “drunk bus.”  You’ve been there, we’ve all been there, and somehow it gets even more obnoxious every single time. The first thought on the Saturday night loop goes something like this- Is it possible that every single student on campus is on this bus right now?  It sure feels like it in that moment.  It’s just as packed as it is in the morning (maybe even a little worse), but now you’re not wearing any backpack to shield yourself from any unwanted contact with total strangers, who by the way aren’t only stepping on your toes, but are chanting and dancing and doing really anything else that could make any bus ride perfectly unpleasant.

When Anyone Even Suggests Walking


Sure the Blue Loop might circle all of State College before it finally gets to the Hub, but is that stopping any of us from climbing aboard to avoid a walk that would have taken half the time? And just because our next class is literally two blocks away from the dorms, will we decide on a healthier, eco-friendly brisk walk to that lecture?  Absolutely not!  CATA has blessed us with these convenient buses that will sweep us away to any class, restaurant, library, etc. we’ll ever need to be at, so the next time we’ll be voluntarily walking anywhere is sometime after that eighth semester.

Rain? Run.


Whenever the weather strays even a little bit from partly sunny, the line for any of the loops, turns into the spitting image of a scene from the Hunger Games. As soon as that bus pulls up to the stop it’s run or be left behind in the elements to wait for the next bus.  So you better rush to the front of the line in those rain/snow boots, because survival of the fittest is about to kick in real quick.

Despite all of our collegiate public transportation troubles, CATA, you should know that you truly are the MVP.  Without you, Uber would have emptied out all of our bank accounts a very, very long time ago.