Capital Area Transit System, labeling itself CATS, is a public transportation provider in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. It serves the city and several west bank suburbs, but does not travel outside parish boundaries or across the Mississippi River.
Originally formed as the Capital Transit Corporation by the City of Baton Rouge, the system came to be known as the Capital Area Transit System in 2004 during a re-branding of the agency. CATS was later defined by an act of the Louisiana Legislature in 2005. The act established the transit agency and dictates its governance but did not create any revenue source for CATS. Ballot measures to create tax revenue for the system failed to pass in 2009 and 2010, and attempts to reduce service further and increase fares were rejected by the Metro Council, leaving CATS facing a budget shortfall that would have resulted in a complete system shutdown by midyear 2012. CATS finally found stable funding that same year and avoided shutdown when voters in the cities of Baton Rouge and Baker approved a property tax increase.
The agency is often criticised as providing unreliable service, with delays of an hour or more common. Although CATS has worked to address this issue, proponents of the system have voiced concerns that progress has been slow and some changes lacked proper planning.
Louisiana State University created its own shuttle service, Tiger Trails, in 2008 due to complaints rising from CATS's service to and from the campus.
Brian Marshall resigned as CEO on April 22, 2013 due to controversies surrounding the agency.
Below is the new, expanded route list effective March 30, 2014. Routes are anchored around one at least one of five hubs: the Town Square hub, located on North St. near City Hall¹, Cortana Mall, the former Earl K. Long Medical Center, the Mall of Louisiana, and the CATS Terminal at the corner of N. 22nd and Florida streets. Most, but not all, routes connect two hubs together to allow for cross-town connectivity.8 - Gus Young
10 - Scenic Hwy. - Southern University
11 - Northside Circulator
12 - Government St. and Jefferson Hwy.
14 - Thomas Delpit Drive
16 - Downtown Trolley
17 - Perkins Road
18 - LSU to Cortana Mall
20 - North Acadian Thruway
21 - Fairfields Avenue
22 - Winbourne Avenue
23 - Foster Drive
41 - Plank Road
44 - Florida Boulevard and Cortana Mall
46 - Gardere-OLOL-L'Auberge
47 - Highland Road
50 - GlenOaks- Greendale Circulator
52 - Baker Circulator
54 - Airline Hwy. North - Southern University
55 - East Florida Blvd.
56 - Mall to Mall via Drusilla Ln.
57 - Sherwood Forest Blvd.
58 - Coursey Blvd. and O'Neal Ln.
59 - East Florida Blvd. to O'Neal Ln.
60 - Medical Corridor
70 - Baker Limited Stops
72 - Florida Blvd. Limited Stops
80 - Southern University Shuttles
103 - Airport Express
¹Most routes utilizing the North Street Town Square hub currently stop at the corner in front of the Old State Capitol just before the North Street Transit Pavilion due to congestion caused by bus layovers at the stop.
The buses that operate CATS fixed routes are equipped to accommodate most riders with disabilities. For riders whose disability prevents them from using the standard routes at all, CATS provides the OnDemand paratransit service. An application process must be followed prior to using the service, and all start and end points must be within 3/4 mile of the CATS service area. Paratransit customers pay the same $1.75 fare.
The standard fare for all CATS routes is $1.75 which is payable in cash when boarding the bus. Riders may request a transfer to different routes for an additional $0.25 (not for use on initiating line; must pay every use within 2 hours). There is no fare to kids below 5 who ride with fare-paying rider, limit is 3. Senior citizens, disabled riders, and students are eligible for a discounted rate of $0.35, however these individuals must first obtain a CATS reduced fare ID card. Students of Louisiana State University, Southern University, Remington College or Virginia College may board the bus for free by presenting their student ID card. Additionally, the Downtown Trolley (Route 16) is free for all riders.
A prepaid pass may be purchased from the CATS Terminal or from authorized resellers. The following passes are available:31-Day Pass ($56)
7-Day Pass ($19)
1-Day Pass ($4 weekdays, $2 weekends/holidays, can also be bought onboard buses)
15 Single Rides Pass ($24.50/$5.25)