Streets & Transit

edited May 2018 in Regional
I am surprised I didn't see anything about this information in the news. Right now it's pretty popular to talk about mass transit records in the news all across the country. Based on the press release the average weekday ridership for route 1 is about 6,500. The route was up more than 25,000+ riders form April 2007 vs. April 2008. Anyhow, I figured I'd post this information on here for discussion in case there are any other mass transit buffs like myself.

Record Numbers Turn to CATA for Transportation

Lansing, MI-CATA increased fares and pass prices on April 7, 2008. Ridership normally drops after fares go up. Contrary to that trend, CATA recorded its highest April ridership ever with customers taking 1,154,241 CATA rides. This marked the 6th time in 7 months that CATA monthly ridership exceeded 1 million rides. This total represents a system-wide (all services) increase of 5% compared with April of last year...

here is the link for the full press release:


  • Found this old thread, and thought it'd be most appropriate to put this here.

    Anyway, beyond CATA's announcement of the extension of Route #12, did anyone see the other major announcement CATA made, yesterday? Apparently, they are abolishing Zone #2 in Delta Township as far as fares are concerned. Passengers that originated in Delta Township used to have to pay double the fare ($2.50 instead of the regular $1.25). Now, Delta Township has essentially been pulled back into the regular fare zone.

    On top of that, it appears the authority also reached some kind of agreement with the township to supplement the two existing routes that come into the township with a Monday to Saturday dial-a-ride service. What it looks like is happening is that the journey to have CATA take over in this urbanized part of the country is slowly coming to fruition. With county voters failing to allow EATRAN to offer fixed-route service in the county, it looks like Delta Township is trying unilaterally to pull itself closer to Lansing.

    My hope is that this transit integration picks up steam so that we can eventually get more fixed route service within Delta Township. As I've griped about, before, you've got an entire swath of the urbanized area west of the mall to Marketplace out past the freeway interchange that is still completely lacking fixed route service. Apart from that, I think you could run some lower frequency fixed routes down Elmwood/Snow, and then maybe something that loops around Willow and St. Joseph (or maybe just back to Saginaw) with either Canal or Creyts as the western edge of the loop to pick up all of the apartment complexes and such.

    Anyway, it looks like the integration has begun, and if Eaton County doesn't want to play ball, maybe Delta Township could put in place a small, individual transit millage to allow CATA in through the front door.
  • edited August 2014
    I did see that news! It's ironic in a way - the extension of Rt #12 is to connect both LCC campuses. The old "preferred method" for taking public transit from Main Campus to West was to take a bus out to the Lansing Mall, where you were supposed to meet an EATRAN shuttle you had called ahead to arrange - I doubt very many people ever did that. Maybe it would be all CATA now anyway.

    I still don't think CATA does a very good job responding to special events - (thousands of people headed downtown for July 4th fireworks and a sold-out baseball game tonight? Let's shutdown completely for the holiday!), but it's good to see this.
  • edited August 2014
    As far as special events concerned, they do pretty well (Silver Bells, Common Ground, etc...). Independence Day is a holiday, and CATA is off only seven days out of the 365 we have. Perhaps they could small shuttle loop or something to get people back to their cars on July 4th without having to activate the entire system. But I don't find it unusual that CATA's down on the 4th.

    I said it when we were talking about this in the general thread, but my gripe with CATA is simple frequency. While I'd like to see more "sexy" transit options, simply increasing frequency on the major routes would be a game changer for the system. In most other countries (and some of our major cities), 10-15 minute headways is just regular bus service. Off of Route #1, you're lucky if you get 30 minutes between buses. Ann Arbor's transit system just passed a huge millage to increase frequency. I'd like us to do the same.

    It's funny, because CATA is actually among the best systems for a region its size. I'd hate to live in a city with even less service. In fact, our system has more riders and service than the system in Indianapolis, which blows my mind.
  • Oh, I agree. Time is valuable, and more frequent service itself increases the use of public transit. Plus once you hit that "at least every 15 minutes" threshold, I think most people no longer feel obliged to look up bus schedules - they just show up at the stop and know they won't have to wait too long for the next bus. It's a mentally nice place to be.
  • Yep. Some more things I'd like to see out of CATA:

    - Benches at every stop where possible, and more shelters at major stops.

    - More clearly marked stops with artistic posts; something really unique so that you know it's a CATA stop. The current metal posts with the little signs are utilitarian, but making the stops more attractive would be a nice touch.

    - Perhaps consolidation of some stops along major corridors to speed up trips if we can't get more buses on routes.

    BTW, the LSJ has a bit more in-depth coverage of the deal with Delta Township:
    Currently, Delta Township bus riders who want to go to Lansing have to pay two fares. And, if they use EATRAN dial-a-ride, part of Eaton County’s public bus service, to to get to a bus stop in the township, they pay a third fare.

    The three fares amount to $7.75 a day for a roundtrip to and from Lansing — $4 for EATRAN and $3.75 for CATA. The new plan would slash that to a single, $2.50 fare.

    The three-year proposal calls for CATA to operate its Redi-Ride service in Delta Township from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Riders would be able to transfer to other CATA buses without paying additional fares. The current two CATA fares are charged because Delta Township does not support the CATA system financially.

    The double fare for CATA bus rides originating in Delta will change to a single $1.25 fare Monday, with the Redi-Ride expansion expected to begin Oct. 1.

    The service will be funded through a $1.2 million in federal grant money CATA has been awarded. The township will kick in $140,000 per year.
  • edited August 2014
    It's good to see CATA making its way into Eaton County, I guess we'll have to see where it leads.

    If CATA was to have free reign to make routes in Eaton County, where would they go? Saginaw is the obvious route, it's just a question of how far it goes. I think the other very likely routes would be St Joe, Willow, Creyts, Canal and Elmwood/Snow; W Michigan Ave seems probable, but it is pretty close to St Joe and Saginaw. I think that would be an adequate route setup, although it may be worthwhile to extend the N Grand River route further and add a Lansing Rd route also. Are there any other routes that I'm not thinking of?
  • I think you pretty much covered them. I said basically the same ones, though, in my plan you'd have Saginaw (east-west) out to Marketplace and Elmwood/Snow (north-south) as central spines, and then basically run a loop or circle along St. Joe to the south Willow to the north and either Canal or Creyts to the west that would collect and feed the central spines. As demand would grow, I'd eventually have the Saginaw route transformed into a BRT like what we're about to run out to Okemos.

    Apart from that, yeah, I could see a demand for an extension of the Grand River route. Though, I'm not sure there is much to serve along Lansing Road, unless you do a commuter/express/limited route which could maybe connect the State Secondary Complex with downtown. I guess you could have a rush-hour route like you do to Webberville and Mason. I'd stretch it down to Canal. You could even build two dedicated bus lanes in the wide grassy median for most of the route to speed it up.
  • After looking at the map a bit I'm thinking a W Michigan to Creyts To Millitt to Canal to W Michigan route would be about perfect. It would be able to right in front of most of the factories and warehouses in that area. I think a route like that would allow them to serve all those streets with a higher frequency service than they otherwise would be able to support. And yeah, W Saginaw would be an obvious choice for a second or third BRT route, although I'd like to see a Cedar St BRT route also.
  • edited October 2015
    I was just thinking about something, today, and it's the lack of transit connection between the three nodes of REO Town, downtown, and Old Town. All of these All three districts are served by transit, but I don't believe there is one route that serves all three of them, and certainly not a speedy option. Short of something expensive like a streetcar connection, I was thinking why not have a frequent CATA circulator shuttle between the three, perhaps something every 10 minutes at the most during peak hours (the two rushhours and a during lunchtime) and maybe less frequent during other parts of the day? Model it after the Entertainment Express.

    To me, this would reduce the need for parking in Old Town and REO Town, specifically, as downtown visitors, workers, and residents would keep their cars downtown. These districts are JUST far enough for one another that they aren't in typical walking distance, but close enough that it's crazy that they aren't more connected. Some examples of these downtown circulators include the DASH system in Grand Rapids, which is four inner-city circulator routes which are contracted out to the city's transit authority. The four routes connects the downtown core to the nearby inner city neighborhoods to the north, east, south and west. The routes are free of cost to passengers. The other is the Charm City Circulator in downtown Baltimore, which is also four routes. It's a service by the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and contracted out to a private company for operation. It's funded by the city's parking fees and is free to passengers.

    As you can see, there are a number of ways to operate and fund such a service, but I'd really like Lansing to have a downtown circulator route. In my vision of it, it would run up and downtown Washington between REO Town and the Four Corners at Michigan and Washington. From there the northbound route would turn east onto Michigan then go north on Larch to Grand River and then west through Old Town to Capitol and then south on Capitol back to Michigan and then finally back onto Washington. If you didn't want a one-way loop you could run it both ways, or run it one way half the day and then the other way the rest of the day.

    Really, Old Town and REO Town would benefit the most, and you could start having high-density development in those spots as they'd have more activity and projects would require fewer parking spots.
  • A free to ride route like the one you discuss could probably do the city a lot of good, it would be such an easy thing to do also. I hadn't even thought about the lack of a route like that here. It may be worth writing CATA or the city on this if you haven't already.
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