The New Castle Area Transit
Authority (NCATA) was formed in 1959 to provide transit service in the New Castle, PA
area. Prior to the NCATA, the Shenango Valley Transportation Company (SVTC) provided the
service but a labor dispute shut the company down in 1958.
For a year, the area was
without transit service until the NCATA was created and operational. Initially, NCATA
started bus operations with former SVTC equipment. The buses were used for the service
were 14 GM TDH3207's and 1 GM TD3206 which were 1945 through 1948 vintage. The SVTC had
some newer equipment but the newer buses were sold off to help pay off outstanding debts
of the company. 1963 saw the addition of 3 second hand GM's added to the fleet.
The NCATA's first order of
new coaches occurred in 1966 with the purchase of 5 Carpenter MT (20-24) and 10 MiniBus
MB-711 (25-34) coaches. These coaches replaced some of the original SVTC coaches that the
NCATA started out with.
A second order of coaches
were ordered in 1972. This order was for 12 Highway Products Twin Coaches (25-46). These
coaches allowed for the complete retirement of the remaining SVTC equipment as well as the
retirement of some of the MiniBus coaches in the 1966 order which were not holding up as
expected, even with the lighter service demands of the New Castle area.
By 1981, the Twins were
beginning to fail frequently but the large PennDOT order of Neoplans were on the horizon.
As the NCATA allotment of of Neoplans was still a couple of years away, the NCATA turned
to leasing equipment from other systems. Most notably were the leases from PAT in
Pittsburgh. PAT leased the remaining 500 series coaches it still had to the NCATA and
these included the suburban coaches (580-584). Leases were also done from BARTA in
Also, not recorded in any records
that we have been able to locate, a couple of
coaches from Richmond VA were also purchased in the late 1970's. One of the
Richmond coaches was used as a parts bus for the other GM new look coaches
in the fleet at the time and was heavily cannibalized by 1983.
In 1983, New
Castle literally went from an hodgepodge of older buses in various colors and liveries to
a brand new fleet of Neoplan AN435A's overnight. The Neoplans were a tremendous
improvement for the NCATA and brought a few firsts to the transit system. The first was an
air conditioned fleet of modern coaches and secondly it moved the NCATA from
having an average fleet age of over 20 years old to one that was just days
old when the Neoplans arrived. The new Neoplans also featured kneelers and
electronic destination signs which also added to the many firsts for the
The Neoplans came in as white
with red and blue stripes and were numbered 101-112. These buses still basically served
the same areas as the older buses with one notable exception. A new commuter run between
New Castle and Pittsburgh was set up and the NCATA Neoplans were soon being seen in PAT
The next order of transit
coaches occurred in 1999 when the NCATA purchased 12 35 foot Gillig Advantage low floor
coaches (116-127). These coaches came in with a new color metallic medium green with dark
green and gold striping. At this time also, many of the 1983 Neoplans were sent out for
rebuilding. The rebuilt Neoplans were painted in the new livery and looked very
attractive. The Neoplans were relegated to local service at this point and no longer make
the long run to Pittsburgh. 2002 saw the purchase of additional Gillig coaches. The new
Gilligs (117 - ?) are standard 40 foot Phantom coaches and share the ever more frequent
Pittsburgh runs with the low floor coaches. In March 0f 2004, the NCATA purchased 4 used
Gillig coaches from a wholesaler in California. Two of these used coaches are to serve the
very crowded New Castle to Pittsburgh runs and free up two of the Gillig Low Floors for
local service and the other 2 are for the local service and will replace 2 of the rebuilt
The NCATA recently completed
a new transportation center to house both the offices as well as the maintenance and
storage. Formerly the NCATA was stored and maintained at the Taylor Street facility which
was small and antiquated for the ever growing fleet of buses. The original storage and
maintenance facility had no connection with the SVTC and was a former trucking facility.
The route structure of the
NCATA has grown dramatically between 1999 and 2003. In 1999, there were 8 routes and that
has grown to 20 in 2003. Besides the several routes to Pittsburgh, service extends to many
areas of Lawrence County now. The NCATA also serves Youngstown, Ohio with 6 round trips
where transfer can be made with the Western Reserve Transit Authority.