Penn State

This is Penn State | CATA bus tips

Riding the bus on campus and throughout the community is affordable, convenient and easy using Centre Area Transportation Authority routes.

Whether you’re new to the area or just need a refresher on using the bus system, a series of online tutorial videos are available on CATA’s website, — click on “how-to videos.” They will show you how to ride the bus, read the bus schedules, use the bus-mounted bike racks and more.

New this year is a series of two short videos — “CATABus Riding Facts, Tips and Tricks” — that will help you make the most of your ride.

A few highlights:

•  Though the buses mostly operate on time, they occasionally run behind. There are things out of the driver’s control that can cause the bus to be late, including traffic, weather, construction and passenger overload. While CATA works hard to get the bus back on schedule, you should plan for unforeseen circumstances.

•  As the bus approaches, signal the driver, even if it’s just looking in his direction, then stand back from the curb. Board the bus at the front door and have your money or bus pass ready. Don’t talk on your cellphone while boarding, and if you are wearing ear buds, remove at least one as you board. Eating or drinking on the bus is prohibited.

•  Pull the yellow cord to signal the “stop requested” bell/light, because the bus isn’t required to make stops if the driver thinks no one is getting on or off.

•  If you are a student, chances are you’re riding some very busy buses, such as the N, R, V, Loops and Links. During peak times the buses get crowded and you should move as far to the back of the bus as possible.

•  If a bus passes a stop and riders are waiting to board, it usually means another bus is coming shortly. This is also why drivers don’t always stop when they see you running to the stop. If you see the driver pulling out, don’t rush for the bus or bang on the door or side of the bus. It is CATA policy that, once the driver has shut the doors and has begun pulling into traffic, attention must be on driving.

•  If you need to take more than one bus to complete your one-way trip, ask the driver for a transfer when you get on the bus. You might not receive the transfer until you get off, but knowing ahead of time helps the driver allocate his time and, if the bus is running late, he can help ensure you won’t miss your next bus. Transfers are free, are good for an hour after you get off the first bus and are valid for a one-way trip.

•  While CATA understands that there are sometimes big purchases you need to make — such as plywood or a big-screen television — those items cannot be brought onto the bus. So you can determine what can safely be transported, refer to CATA’s Carry-On Policy, available at


•  Bus passes are not transferable — to anyone. It is considered fraud and theft of service. Take a look at the back of your bus pass or the contract you signed when you got your pass for CATA policies.

•  Schedule and service information — including exact route, schedule and fare information and a list of all fall service changes — for Fall 2013 is available in the latest Ride Guide. The booklet is available throughout the community, on all CATA buses and on the CATA website. Call the CATA office for more information at 238-2282.