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Capital Area Transit (CAT), also known as the Cumberland-Dauphin-Harrisburg Transit Authority, is a regional public transportation agency that operates bus and paratransit service in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania metropolitan area. Its scheduled route bus service covers much of the southern half of Dauphin County and the eastern half of Cumberland County. It also operates two bus routes into northern York County. CAT's shared ride/paratransit operations serve residents throughout Dauphin County.

Capital Area Transit
Headquarters901 North Cameron St.
LocaleHarrisburg, PA
Service areaSouthern half of Dauphin County and the eastern half of Cumberland County and into northern York County
Service typebus service, paratransit
Fleet87 Fixed-Route; 16 Paratransit
Daily ridership8,000 (2007)[1]
10,000 (2010)[2]

CAT employs approximately 200 people and its management headquarters and bus maintenance facility are both located at 901 North Cameron Street in Harrisburg.[3]



The Cumberland-Dauphin-Harrisburg Transit Authority was formed in 1973 after the dissolution of the Harrisburg Railways Company. When that company ceased operations, the city of Harrisburg and Cumberland and Dauphin counties formed the authority to ensure mass transit services would continue to be available in the greater Harrisburg metropolitan area. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Municipal Authorities Act of 1945 permitted the city and counties to undertake the action to create CAT.[3]

The Authority is governed by a seven member Board of Directors. Three are appointed by the city of Harrisburg, two are selected by Dauphin County, and two are chosen by Cumberland County. Each board member serves a five year term (at which time they may be reappointed by their respective municipalities). The Board meets each month on the last Wednesday to set policy and provide guidance to the staff. Committees of the Board meet on an ad-hoc basis dependent upon the activity occurring within the Authority.

CAT currently has two divisions – a Fixed Route Bus Division and a Shared Ride/Paratransit Division. A third division for commuter rail is currently being developed.[3]

Bus fleetEdit

CAT owns a fleet of 87 fixed route buses. The fleet includes eleven 35 foot buses, twenty-one 29 foot buses, and fifty-five 40 foot low floor buses. CAT's buses followed a three digit numbering scheme until 1994. Buses bought in 1995 are numbered to show their year of acquisition (95) in the first two digits. Starting in 2001, all CAT buses ordered that year or later show the year in the second digit of the bus number. CAT's active fleet roster is shown below.

2004: 4 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide (2401–2404)

2005: 9 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide (2501–2509)

2006: 6 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide with a Suburban interior configuration (2601–2606)

2006: 19 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide with a transit configuration (2607–2625)

2008: 2 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide with a Suburban interior configuration (2801–2802)

2008: 4 Gillig Advantages – 40' long, 102" wide with a transit configuration (2803–2807)

2011: 11 Gillig Advantages (Hybrid: diesel/electric) – 40' long, 102" wide (1101–1111)

2012: 7 Gillig Advantages – 35' long, 102" wide (1201–1207)

2013: 7 Gillig Advantages - 40' long, 102" wide(1301-1307)

2014: 4 Gillig Advantages - 40' long 102" wide (1401-1404)[4]

Transportation networkEdit

As of May 2007, CAT operates over 30 bus routes in its fixed route network. These include short distance shuttle routes, longer distance, rush hour express routes, and regular, intermediate length routes. Nearly all the routes are organized into a hub and spoke system centered on Downtown Harrisburg. The hub in the system is the CAT Transfer Center, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of 2nd Street and Market Street in Harrisburg's Market Square.

CAT routes have either a number or letter and route name assigned to distinguish individual routes. Generally speaking, numbered routes operate in the Harrisburg "East Shore" area in Dauphin County, while lettered routes operate across the Susquehanna River in the Harrisburg "West Shore" area in Cumberland County. Many routes operate Monday through Saturday, though some only operate Monday through Friday during rush hours. None of CAT's fixed routes operate on Sundays; however the shared ride division does provide rides seven days a week.

The following is a list of CAT routes. Unless otherwise noted, one of the endpoints for each route is in downtown Harrisburg. The routes include:

East Shore (Dauphin County) routesEdit

  • Route 1 – Market Street: to/from Kline Village, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 3 – Third Street: to/from 2nd Street & Linglestown Road, operates Monday-Saturday, combined with Route 6 for late night service
    • Academy of Medical Arts and Business route, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 6 – Sixth Street: to/from 6th Street & Vaughn Street, operates Monday-Saturday, combined with Route 3 for late night service
  • Route 7 – Middletown: to/from Middletown via PA 230, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 8 – Derry/Rutherford: to/from Sue Drive via Derry Street, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 9 – City Island/HACC: between City Island and the HACC Main Campus or Blue Cross via downtown Harrisburg, operates Monday-Friday (Blue Cross rush hours only)
  • Route 12 – Colonial Park/Colonial Commons/Gateway/Linglestown: to/from Colonial Commons, Linglestown, or Gateway Corporate Center
    • Colonial Commons and Linglestown, operates Monday-Saturday
    • Gateway Corporate Center, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 13 – Paxton Street: to/from Harrisburg Mall via Paxton Street, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 14 – Union Deposit/Four Seasons: to/from Four Seasons housing development, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 15 – Union Deposit/Rutherford Rd.: to/from Rutherford Rd. & Union Deposit Rd., operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 16 – Union Deposit/Pennswood: to/from Pennswood Apartments, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 19 – Steelton: to/from Harrisburg Mall via Steelton, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 20 – High Pointe Commons: to/from High Pointe Commons shopping center, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route 21 – DGS Annex Complex: to/from DGS Annex Complex, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 23 – Elizabethville/Millersburg/Halifax: to/from Elizabethville via Millersburg and to/from Halifax, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 24 – Springford: to/from Springford Apartments, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only (Formerly Route 12S)
  • Route 39 – Herr St./Blue Mountain Commons: to/from Blue Mountain Commons on Lingletown Rd., operates Monday-Saturday (Formerly Route 18)
  • Route 322 – Hershey: to/from Outlets at Hershey, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route HP – Hersheypark: to/from Hersheypark, operates Monday-Saturday during summer season only

West Shore (Cumberland and/or York County) routesEdit

  • Route A – New Cumberland: to/from Capital City Airport and Defense Distribution Region East, operates Monday-Friday
  • Route B – Highland Park: to/from West Port, operates Monday-Friday
  • Route C – Carlisle Local: to/from Carlisle via Carlisle Pike/Market Street, operates Monday-Friday
  • Route CX – Carlisle Express: to/from Carlisle via Interstate 81, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route D – Shoppers' Special: to/from Capital City Mall via Camp Hill, operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route F – Enola: to/from Central Pennsylvania College via US 11/15, operates Monday-Friday
  • Route K – Erford Road: to/from Rupley Park, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route L – Lemoyne Station Shuttle: between Highmark Blue Shield Complex in East Pennsboro Township and 3rd Street & Walton Street in Lemoyne, operates Monday-Friday
  • Route M – Downtown Mechanicsburg: to/from Mechanicsburg via Trindle Road (PA 641), operates Monday-Saturday
  • Route MX – Mechanicsburg Express: to/from Mechanicsburg via PA 581, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 81N – Shippensburg/Newville/Carlisle/Harrisburg Express: to/from Shippensburg, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 81S – Shippensburg/Newville/Mechanicsburg Naval Base Express: between Shippensburg and Naval Inventory Control Point in Hampden Township, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only
  • Route 120- Winding Hill Commuter Express: to/from Winding Hill Road, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only

Downtown Harrisburg shuttlesEdit

  • Route 4- Market-Walnut-Islander: between City Island and 4th Street & Walnut Street, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only (Formerly Route 2)
  • Riverfront Office Center Shuttle: between CAT Transfer Center and Riverfront Office Center, operates Monday-Friday, rush hours only

Many of the "regular" routes listed above only operate over a portion of the route for certain runs.


CAT has about a 35% farebox recovery ratio.[citation needed] The remainder of the operational funds to provide service as well as capital funds comes from Cumberland and Dauphin Counties, the City of Harrisburg, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Additional funding for capital expenditures is received from the Federal Transit Administration.[3]

Connecting servicesEdit

Essentially all of CAT's East Shore routes and many of their West Shore routes stop within one block of the Harrisburg Transportation Center, the primary intercity passenger rail and bus hub in the greater Harrisburg area. Transportation operators who currently provide service at the HTC include Amtrak, Greyhound Lines, Capitol Trailways, and Fullington Trailways. In addition, CAT's Route 7 (Middletown) stops within one block of the Middletown Amtrak station and the Route 322 (Hershey) shares multiple stops in Hershey with Capitol Trailways' Harrisburg/Reading route.

All of CAT's routes excluding the Route 81 – Shippensburg/Naval Base and Route L – Lemoyne Shuttle routes have shared stops in downtown Harrisburg with the Rabbit Transit York/Harrisburg commuter bus route, the RabbitEXPRESS. Rabbit Transit is CAT's counterpart public transit agency in York County.

Most of CAT's routes also connect at multiple locations in downtown Harrisburg with rush hour, commuter bus routes operated by R & J Transportation. R & J Transportation runs two Schuylkill County/Harrisburg routes.

In Hershey, the Route 322 connects with selected bus routes within the County of Lebanon Transit Authority or COLT system. COLT is the transit provider in Lebanon County. Connecting routes include COLT's Route 8, which connects with the CAT Route 322 at Tanger Outlets Hershey and COLT's Route 18, which shares stops with the Route 322 at various locations within the village of Hershey and at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. COLT also has "Twilight Run", evening service on the Route 8 that connects with CAT's Hershey route.

Finally, the Route 7 (Middletown) stops on some of its runs at Harrisburg International Airport, the primary commercial service airport in South Central Pennsylvania. Most major U.S. passenger airlines, excluding dedicated low-cost carriers, have flights to/from HIA.

Proposed commuter rail servicesEdit

Capital Red Rose Corridor (Corridor One)Edit

In late 1999, CAT's board of directors voted unanimously to pursue the vision of bringing commuter rail to the Harrisburg metropolitan area. The project, initially named CorridorOne, will provide regional rail service along existing rail facilities within the lower Susquehanna Valley, linking Lancaster with Harrisburg. Original planning of the corridor would have extended service along a 54-mile stretch between Lancaster, Harrisburg and Carlisle, Cumberland County; however, the Harrisburg to Carlisle segment was dropped from the proposal in 2005.

Project scheduleEdit

  • Preliminary engineering and environmental studies phase – completed August 2006
  • Final engineering design phase – est. 2009
  • Construction phase – complete late 2010 (est.)
  • Lancaster to Harrisburg service – operational late 2010 (est.)

Corridor TwoEdit

CAT and the Modern Transit Partnership began discussing a second commuter rail corridor in 2009, designated Corridor Two. Corridor Two would operate between York, Harrisburg, and Lebanon. There may be difficulties implementing the Harrisburg-Lebanon segment of CorridorTwo, as this segment would operate on the heavily traveled and fast-growing Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line, an east–west trunk line in Norfolk Southern's freight rail system. Norfolk Southern has discussed upgrading and potentially expanding capacity of the Harrisburg-Lebanon segment of their system for freight rail operations as part of their Crescent Corridor initiative between the U.S. Gulf Coast and northern New Jersey.[5]

Park-and-ride locationsEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Transit proposal fails to add up Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine The Patriot-News, September 02, 2007. Accessed February 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Down economy drives up ridership on buses T.W. Burger, The Patriot-News, April 18, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d About Capital Area Transit Archived January 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Cumberland-Dauphin-Harrisburg Transit Authority, accessed February 6, 2010.
  4. ^ CAT bus service sees ridership increase:Harrisburg bus service credits extension of service routes and changes in the tax code for a 40 percent jump in riders over the decade. Greg Gross, The Carlisle Sentinel, February 26, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2010.
  5. ^ RAIL Solution's Response to Norfolk Southern Railway's "I-81 Crescent Corridor" Initiative Archived November 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Rail Solution, accessed February 5, 2010.