The Mystery of CATA's Entertainment Express
MSU’s utilitarian bussing system, the Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, is a staple on campus, whether it be getting to class or back home.
During Michigan’s fraught winters, some students can be overheard complaining of CATA’s cramped corridors and delayed schedules.
However, as the weekend rolls around, CATA assumes an alter ego: The Entertainment Express.
Starting at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, a trolley adorned with a wood-grain finish makes a journey through both downtown Lansing and downtown East Lansing with approximately 20 stops throughout its route. As with the standard busses, a CATA pass will allow you entry onto the Entertainment Express.
Regular cash fare costs its typical $1.25, though it's still 60 cents for students. As quickly as the Entertainment Express arrives, it departs. At 3 a.m. Sunday morning, all evidence of the trolley vanishes into thin air.
The Entertainment Express boasts its access to every aspect of the Lansing area's nightlife. From Insomnia Cookies to Stober’s Cocktail Lounge, virtually every nook and cranny of the greater Lansing area is covered on the route.
Signs for the Entertainment Express are plastered at virtually every CATA bus stop equipped with a bench — but few students said they have been on the trolley.
Despite this, however, the Entertainment Express continues to trudge along every weekend.
The trolley’s mystery has lingered through the halls of MSU’s buildings. Some of those even aware of its existence have no further information on the bus, and if they do it’s in the form of accusatory mockeries.
Human capital and society junior Keenan Case, who, like some others, is aware of the trolley's existence but has yet to ride it, said the Entertainment Express, "looks a little obnoxious, but seems like a good time."
Biosystems engineering junior Iana Wolf said she, "doesn't see a reason" to ride the trolley.
As popular apps like Uber and Lyft enter the transportation market, though, the Entertainment Express has stood strong.
CATA said the trolley saw 8,239 customers in 2017.
CATA has operated the Entertainment Express for more than a decade. Ever since the fateful day of Oct. 26, 2006, the trolley has trooped the streets of Lansing and East Lansing alike. And as of now, there are no plans to discontinue it.
Editor's Note: This article was updated at 1:50 p.m to remove unsubstantiated opinion.