CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

PUBLIC HEARING

MINUTES

pdf version 

November 8, 2010

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING

Borough Council Chambers, Room 304, S. Allen Street

State College, PA16801

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:†††††††††††††††† John Spychalski, Chairman

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Richard Kipp, Treasurer

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Gary Powers

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT:†††††††††††††††††† Kathryn Bittner

 

STAFF PRESENT:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Hugh Mose, General Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Louwana Oliva, Assistant General Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sherry Snyder, Director of Operations

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Julie Hartley, Human Resources Manager

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Greg Kausch, Transportation Planner

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

 

 

I.††††††††† CALL TO ORDER

††††††††††† Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.

 

II.††††††† PUBLIC HEARING TO RECEIVE COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED SERVICE REDUCTIONS

Prior to receiving comments from the public, Chair Spychalski called on Eric Bernier to review the proposed service reductions, which if approved would take effect on January 8, 2010.

 

††††††††††† Eric Bernier reported that the proposed service reductions are as follows:

 

         A (Park Forest) Route

††††††††††† ††††††††††† The midday trip (12:25 p.m. Outbound & 12:39 p.m. Inbound trips) will be eliminated.

†††††††††††††††††††††††

         AP (Airport) Route

The first Outbound (4:55 a.m.) and last two Inbound (7:45 p.m. & 12:10 a.m.) trips will be eliminated every day.

 

         K (Cato Park) Route

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Saturday service will be eliminated.

The weekday morning rush hour frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes during Reduced Service.

††††††††††† ††††††††††† The 7:06, 8:06 & 9:06 a.m. Outbound trips will operate ONLY during Full Service.

†††††††††††††††††††††††

         H (Toftrees) Route

The weekday morning rush hour frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes during Reduced Service.

The trips that start Inbound at the Colonnade at 6:41, 7:41 & 8:41 a.m. will now operate ONLY during Full Service.

†††††††††††

         S (Science Park) Route

The weekday midday trip (12:01 p.m. Outbound & 12:37 p.m. Inbound trips) will be eliminated.

†††††††††††

         W (Valley Vista) Route

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Saturday service frequency will be reduced from every 60 minutes to every 70 minutes.

The weekday morning Inbound rush hour frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes during Reduced Service.

The Inbound trips that start at Lowes Center at 6:44, 7:44 & 8:44 a.m. will now operate ONLY during Full Service. See the attached W Route timetables showing proposed changes.

 

Eric Bernier then acknowledged the following public comments which were received prior to the meeting:

 

         From Jolley Harris

jththree@comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:10 AM

 

Hi Eric, Sounds like a good plan to me. I always thought that there was unnecessary extra service on the H and W during reduced service.  I'm wondering, to reduce the sting of no Saturday service on the K, whether the Saturday B's which have to get to College and Allen for their runs, if they can start at Cato Park at 10:07am, 2:07pm and 5:07pm as in bound K's and return to Cato Park at of the end of the B runs from College and Allen at 11:35am, 3:53pm and 6:35pm.  Just a thought.  Thanks for considering my input. 

 

         From Dr. Dirk Grupe

Swift MOC/Penn State University

2582 Gateway Dr

State College, PA 16801

814-865-1969

grupe@astro.psu.edu

Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:52 AM

 

Hi Jacqueline and Eric

How are you doing? I heard some rumors about service cuts and just looking on your website, they seem to be correct. I can understand that considering the budget crisis that you have to cut somewhere. I do not really see a problem with cutting the K bas on Saturdays and changing the W from a 60 to 70 min schedule that day. However, I do think that cutting the W/K bus morning service from 30 min to 60 min as it used to be before will cause problems for a lot of people. For me the W bus that passes Oakley/Canterbury at 7:50 is perfect, because I can get the kids up and ready for school before I have to leave for work. Taking the later bus usually does not work, because it gets me to Cato Park too late. Also on that 8:50 bus there are usually 15-20 people on aboard. You probably have the statistics from the counts on the bus. I also know from several people who used to be on the 7:15 inbound W bus, that they are using the 6:44 bus now. All these people will then be again on 7:15 bus. In the past this has lead to an overload on the bus when it reached Oak Hills Apartments, where a lot of students enter the bus.

 

 

 

The result in the past was that CATA had to send a second W bus anyway. So, in the end you won't save a lot by cutting the morning 30 hour W busses.

I will try to be at the public meeting on Nov. 08th, but I might not be able to because I will be traveling the next day. Anyway, I will also send this mail to John Spychalski.

All the best and probably see you at the meeting on November 8th.

 

         From: Cary Supalo

942 Southgate Dr

State College, PA 16801

mailto:cas380@psu.edu

Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 5:30 PM

 

To: Members of the CATA Board

 

I apologize for being unable to attend the CATA Public Hearing. I would like to start these remarks to address the proposed service reductions in the November 2010 CATA newsletter.

The one that I hold near and dear to my heart has to do with the AP route. The proposed reduction of service of the 4:55 AM C&A outbound I do enjoy that service, but I admit has not been well traveled by patrons. Although I have used it nine or ten times since it started at the end of August, I do feel lonely on the bus at that hour of the morning. Also, with regards to the evening returns at 7:45 PM and 12:10 AM, this has been similarly so. Although I have used the 12:10 AM five or six times since it started in August, many times people simply like to arrive off of their flights and leave the airport. To me, waiting until 12:10 AM is worth it. I do enjoy working on my laptop computer after my flight arrives. The disadvantage of moving this bus earlier is it allows for flights to be late on arrival and still make the bus. I do like this feature and would be happy to see it continue. Would CATA consider making the airport service at the late hours as a by request service. A patron would have to call CATA earlier in the evening informing them of their plans to arrive on a particular flight and they would plan to take the bus at that scheduled time. I use to live in Lafayette, Indiana and that airport had low bus traffic and they made the airport in Lafayette a by request service only. I would like to suggest that CATA change the 7:45 PM scheduled inbound bus and have it depart the airport 1 hr earlier around 6:45 PM. This will allow this bus to serve as an outbound bus from C&A and as an inbound bus. This will allow this one bus to serve the early evening inbound flights, and the later evening departures on United Express and U.S. Airways. Losing the evening airport service has hit me hard since I frequently use that service to fly out of State College after the workday at Penn State has concluded. I have frequently taken the H out to the American Alehouse and caught a taxi from there. I however learned the H rout is frequently off schedule and falls behind thus making this plan harder to rely on.

Therefore, I would like to ask the consideration of the maintaining of the 7:45 PM inbound and simply change that to a complete round trip departing C&A around 6:15 PM and have it do a complete circle back from the airport departing around 6:45 PM. CATA schedulers can more accurately place the exact schedule. I believe this will up the usage on the outbound and the inbound for these flights.

Another comment Iíd like to make regarding the airport service. I believe more promoting of this service should be conducted to more informatively tell the State College community of its existence.

 

With regards to the service cuts on the K rout on Saturday, I can support this reduction because of the lack of use on that day.

I would like to compliment the CATA board on the great service I am now receiving on the R rout. Now that I have moved out to the Southside of town, I believe this service in its current form is outstanding, and I want to commend those who made it possible.

Although I dislike service reductions of any kind, I realize the budget crisis calls for hard decisions to be made. Therefore, I would also like to suggest that CATA consider raising the rate of bus fare on Monday-Friday during peak travel times. To consider charging a $2 fair from say 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM, and from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Two passes should be sold a One-Pass platinum that would allow for unlimited rides at all times. Have a second One-pass that is unlimited during off peak times and give the customer the option of riding during peak times and simply paying an additional 50 cents. Many transit companies do this, and the newly upgraded fair boxes I believe as smart enough to handle this attempt.

Also, I believe One-passes should be allowed to start at the first time of use and allow for 31 or 15 consecutive day use as opposed to letting the calendar determine when the passes should begin and end. This I feel may increase their ease of use while at the same time giving customers the chance to start the use of their passes at more convenient times for their work schedules if they happen to be out of town a great deal. I am not sure the fareboxes can handle this type of information, but I believe it should be considered.

I would also like to end this testimony with a question I would like feedback on. Is CATA set up to receive charitable donations? Transit fans like me might be willing to make a donation to support CATA service above and beyond simply buying bus passes. Although this type of a donation probably wonít generate much revenue, any little bit I think helps.

Please let me know if I can be of further help to the CATA Board on these or other transit matters. Thank you for considering my comments at this hearing.

 

Chairman Spychalski asked Hugh Mose to explain the need for the proposed service reductions.Hugh reported that these changes are made necessary by recent reductions in state transit funding.With falling sales tax revenue eliminating CATAís ability to capture the funds that Act 44 was expected to provide, and the loss of the federal natural gas tax credit and reductions in state operating assistance further impacting the Authority, CATAís financial situation is not sustainable long-term, even under the most optimistic projections.Therefore, although CATA has adequate financial resources for the next year, it is necessary to start making some modest service reductions in January to scale back service to fit with the revenue which is available.Hugh reported that the suggested reductions are for service on the most lightly patronized routes represent trips which are most easily removed mid-year.††

Hugh further stated that it will take an increase in sales tax revenue and an alternative to the tolling of Interstate 80 as a means of generating funding for transportation in Pennsylvania to turn things around for CATA financially.

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman Spychalski stated that while the industry standard is for 32% of operating funds to come from what customers pay, nearly 50% of CATAís Operating Budget comes from rider revenue, and that 50-52% comes from local, state and federal government support.

 

Chairman Spychalski called for Public Comment.

 

Dirk Grupe, Patton Township, referenced the email which he sent prior to the meeting and which was previously entered for the public record.Mr. Grupe then commented that the cuts on the morning W and K Routes were not as severe as he had first thought since the reductions are scheduled only for Reduced Service.He requested that if at all possible, the buses retain their original schedule because year round riders will be negatively affected.

 

Rachel Andrews commented on her disappointment with service on the A (Park Forest) Route; specifically August 27 when she said that the bus never came; September 28 when she said that the

4:28 p.m. bus never came, and that when she called CATA she was told the bus was held up due to Vice President Bidenís visit to Penn State on that day.Ms. Andrews then stated that during a subsequent phone call she was told that the bus had not come that day because a Driver had failed to show up for their assignment.Ms. Andrews expressed her opinion that CATA employees had been dishonest with her about the reason for the bus not arriving and went on to state that she cannot get work done on the bus because riders have to tell the Driver the Route.

 

III.†††††† ADJOURNMENT

With no further members of the public coming forward to offer comment, Chairman Spychalski closed the public hearing at 4:20 p.m.††

 

IV.†††††† EXECUTIVE SESSION

††††††††††† The Board reconvened in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.