(WHTM) — It is a merger so unusual it is being watched all over the state and country. Two public transportation systems in York, Harrisburg, and beyond are now becoming one.
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The Capital Area Transit, or CAT, is now part of one organization with rabbittransitt, even if it is not quite obvious by the look of the buses yet.
Officially, it is called the Susquehanna Regional Transportation Authority, or SRTA. A majority of the employees from both agencies will become SRTA employees on the first of the new year.
As for customers, sometime soon but not quite yet, they can look forward to things like bus passes that work across the whole system.
Now the name, Susquehanna Regional Transportation Authority, would be a mouthful to paint on a side of a bus, so a different public brand is probably in the works. No decision on what that will be, but SRTA Executive Director Richard Farr, who is also the only employee currently of SRTA gave us a clue as to what it might be.
“If you look at the overall picture, rabbittransit is a much larger organization. And so it’s conceivable that it’ll probably be rabbittransit. but we want to figure out if it goes in that direction, how do we incorporate elements of the CAT brand? So we want to be mindful of the heritage that’s here,” Farr said.
They hope to make a decision on the unified brand by February of next year. But it is not as tough they are going to suddenly repaint all of the buses. Farr says it would be a waste of money and they will, instead, phase it in as they get new buses.
By the middle of 2022, look for what they’re calling “friendly fares.”
“So if you have a transfer, and you’re riding from York to Harrisburg or Harrisburg to wherever, one fare. The fare works everywhere. So a transfer is good everywhere. a monthly pass is a monthly pass,” Farr said.
Together, the two cover roughly 6,000-square-miles in their routes. “So we’re larger than the state of Connecticut, our service area,” Farr said. “so it’s Adams, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union, York – in alphabetical order.”
While the merger will result in the elimination of some office jobs as people retire, there will be no layoffs. In fact, they don’t even have enough drivers and mechanics at this time. “We could be offering a lot more if we had more employees. but we’ll get there.”