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The Mystery of CATA’s Entertainment Express

MSU’s utilitarian and outsourced bussing system, the Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, is not heralded for its outstanding amenities.

Among a general lack of actual busses, especially during Michigan’s fraught winters, students complain of the CATA’s cramped corridors and delayed schedules.

The CATA is not the most luxurious means of transportation. But during the weekend, it does assume an alter ego: The Entertainment Express. 

Starting at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, a quaint, vibrant 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.

While MSU is one of the largest universities in the nation, the Entertainment Express is like a barren wasteland on the weekends, scooting along with empty rows and a lonesome driver at the wheel.

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. 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 many

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