Press Release 7/1/2016
Venango County Transportation and the Crawford Area Transportation Authority (CATA) have merged administrative services effective July 1, 2016. The agreement, signed earlier this year by Venango County Commissioners and the CATA Board of Directors, authorizes CATA to manage the local services including the GoBus and the shared ride service.
Clients of the Venango County service, now identified as Venango County Transit, will see no change in the schedules or the cost for the GoBus. The printed schedules have been updated with a fresh look and maps designed to be user friendly.
Shared rides and out of county trips will be scheduled as usual by calling the dispatch office at 432-7255. The same drivers will be providing the trips, but with a new look. Drivers will begin wearing uniforms of red shirts and black pants. The vehicles will be receiving an updated look as well with a red and black swoosh on the side of the all-white vehicles identified as Venango County Transit, powered by CATA.
Part of a statewide regionalization effort by the Bureau of Public Transportation, this contract will combine the two counties in an administrative agreement. Venango and Crawford Counties were part of a five-county study including neighboring Forest, Warren and Clarion Counties that began several years ago. As a result of that study, it was determined that the two counties could potentially realize savings of nearly $500,000 in the course of the next 10 years by combining resources.
A portion of the proposed savings will come from a PennDOT incentive that allows a five-year waiver of the local match or more than $60,000 per year. Both counties receive federal and state funding, that must be supplemented with local funds. Once savings have been established as a result of the merger, the local share will be waived for a five-year period.
Crawford and Venango Counties provide nearly 400,000 rides and receive more than $4 million in funding for the shared ride, fixed route and medical assistance programs.
Timothy Geibel, formerly executive director at CATA, will be the general manager of the newly formed partnership. Karen Clark, formerly program manager at Venango County, will be serving as deputy general manager. The new group has adopted the slogan, “Partners in Transit, Because Every Trip Matters.”
Venango County will continue to be the administrator for the medical assistance transportation program and CATA will serve as the service provider for the program.
The Crawford Area Transportation Authority, or as our loyal riders call us, “The CAT,” has been a prominent fixture in Crawford County since 1979. Incorporated as a municipal transit authority, CATA offers a variety of services to ALL of Crawford and Venango Counties. Our services include fixed route bus service in the city of Meadville, Titusville, Saegertown, Franklin, Oil City and Seneca and door to door transportation throughout the two counties. So whether you live in Meadville and use CATA to get to work or you live in Polk and use CATA to attend activities at the senior center in Cranberry, CATA is for EVERYONE!
CATA benefits stretch throughout all of Crawford and Venango Counties. Even if you do not use our services, chances are a family member, a neighbor or someone you know does. Whether that person is one of the hundreds who rely on CATA for transportation to work, an elderly family member or neighbor who needs transportation to a doctor’s appointment, somebody riding CATA to shop at a local downtown business or a student from Allegheny College riding the bus to catch a movie, CATA is a positive influence in the community.
CATA is comprised by a fleet of 60 vehicles. CATA uses 3 primary vehicle types in our operation. Our fleet is comprised of Heavy Duty Low Floor Mass Transit buses, accessible mini-vans and body on chassis small buses. Mini-vans are a great way to provide door-to-door transportation at a more efficient cost all while not sacrificing service or ADA accessibility. All vehicles are fully ADA compliant.
CATA supports local area businesses. CATA is committed to working locally with our neighbors. Each year CATA spends in excess of $1,500,000 purchasing products and services from over 50 Pennsylvania businesses.
CATA provides fixed route service at a lower cost per passenger than any other rural transit authority in Pennsylvania. Each year the PA Department of Transportation Bureau of Public Transportation releases statistics on all public transportation providers in the Commonwealth. CATA is proud to maintain the lowest operating expense per passenger among all rural fixed route providers. Click HERE to view the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Report.
2016 is proving to be a great year for CATA! Ridership across the system topped 3000,000 passenger trips during our last fiscal year and we are officially welcoming Venango County Transit and all their employees into our CATA family. We have build strong partnerships with our neighboring counties to coordinate service and realize cost savings. We are also now working with our neighbors to the north in Erie County (The e) to assist with major maintenance services saving CATA time and money on vehicle repairs. Finally, we are nearing completion of the design services for a new Storage/Maintenance and Operations facility in Meadville. This project will solidify our operations, help us better maintain our fleet and provide much needed shelter for our vehicles over the winter months. The project is slated to break ground in the fall of 2016.
The future is bright and continues to provide many new opportunities. With everything going on, now is the best time to climb aboard and give CATA a try.
Thank you and remember…RIDE THE CAT!!!
Timothy C. Geibel
Crawford Area Transportation Authority & Venango County Transit