Copper Beech Drops CATA for West Aaron
This article will tell you definitively who the starting quarterback for the Nittany Lion football team will be. That’s not true. I lied. How do you feel right now? Confused? Angry? Exhausted from riding this emotional rollercoaster? It’s not fun when someone promises to give you one thing, and then takes it away, is it? That’s what the Copper Beech residents at West Aaron Drive are feeling after having been stripped of their CATA bus passes.
For years, Copper Beech, which runs several townhouse developments, has contracted with CATA to provide pre-paid bus passes for its tenants. This semester, as students were moving in, they found notices posted on their doors informing them that they would not be given CATA bus passes. Rather, Copper Beech has decided to run a private shuttle service from their West Aaron development to campus.
The tenants, needless to say, are not pleased. In an anonymous email sent to West Aaron tenants, a student cited a “colossal downgrade of convenience” based on the following:
- The shuttle route doesn’t run onto campus. It runs to Parkway Plaza.
- The shuttle only runs from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M.
- The shuttle only runs once an hour
The letter also states that these changes were announced after many of the tenants had already signed contracts. The letter calls on tenants to contact Copper Beech and proclaims that, “We are nittany lions, not silent lambs. Let them hear our roar!”
So what exactly happened? Why would this bus service that’s been supplied for years be cancelled? CATA General Manager Hugh Mose explains that CATA requested a 21% increase in the amount that Copper Beech pays for bus service. This is a result of a combination of factors. The amount of Copper Beech riders has increased in the past several years. Also, while the cost of running the CATA buses has gone up, state transit funding has declined. Copper Beech decided not to pay this increase and cancelled the service.
In my opinion, the tenants have a legitimate point of view. One of the benefits of living at Copper Beech has always been the included bus pass, which allows easy transit to and from campus. This was an implied part of the rental cost, and by taking away this service, the tenants feel that Copper Beech is not upholding its part of their contract.
It seems that public opinion is a powerful tool, though. Last night, after the anonymous letter and subsequent public outcry, Copper Beech sent out a form to West Aaron tenants asking them whether they supported keeping the bus service. I expect that they’ll hear quite the lion’s roar.