Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit

Infobox Bus transit
name =

logo_size = 184

image_size =
image_caption =
company_slogan =
parent =
founded =
headquarters = Ithaca, NY
locale =
service_area = Tompkins County, New York
service_type = Public Transit
alliance =
routes =
destinations =
stops =
hubs = Ithaca Commons, Cornell University, Ithaca Mall
stations =
lounge =
fleet = Bus
ridership =
fuel_type =
operator = TCAT Bus
ceo =
website = [ Official Website]

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc., usually referred to as TCAT, is a private, non-profit public transportation operator, created by Cornell University, Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca to serve Tompkins County, New York and the Towns of Richford, Berkshire & Newark Valley in Tioga County. The vast majority of TCAT bus routes are based in the City of Ithaca, New York and the Ithaca urban area including routes serving Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3).


Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) was formed by consolidating three public transit systems – Ithaca Transit (City of Ithaca), TOMTRAN (Tompkins County) [ County Resolution No 152 of 1980 "Acceptance of Interim County-wide Transportation Plan", June 9, 1980, Tompkins County Board of Representatives.] and CU Transit (Cornell University) into a single system. In 1996, the New York State Legislature adopted a state law that authorized TCAT to be created as a joint partnership, governmental entity. [Article 5-I, Section 119-s-1 of the New York State General Municipal Law] On April 1, 1998, the City of Ithaca, Cornell University and Tompkins County established TCAT as a joint venture (public entity) to operate public transit service in Tompkins County. In January 2005, TCAT was re-organized as a not-for-profit corporation with representatives of City of Ithaca, Cornell University, and Tompkins County serving on its Board of Directors. In 2007, TCAT operates 38 bus routes directly and by contract with Tioga Transport, Inc.. [ [ TCAT BUS : Home | Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, New York ] ] GADABOUT Transportation Services, Inc. (a paratransit operator) leases space and maintenance service in the TCAT Facility.

Before TCAT, the City and Cornell established independent bus systems in the 1960’s and expanded service in the 1970’s. There were separate efforts to extend bus service outside of the City and the Cornell campus, first to serve Ithaca’s suburbs in the 1970’s, and to rural towns beginning in 1982. In 1974, transit service in the Northeast was started by apartment owners contracting with Swarthout Coaches to operated limited service for Cornell students. As the public demand for service increased, the apartment owners sought add from local governments and Cornell. By the late 1970’s, the standard approach was to form a coalition to subsidize new transit service. From 1978-1997, the Town of Ithaca, Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights, City, County and Cornell subsidized bus service to the Village of Lansing and Northeast Town of Ithaca. The route was know as Northeast Transit. The Town and City and County subsidized Ithaca Transit Route# 6 service to the Cayuga Medical Center (hospital) from 1979 to 1988. Ithaca Transit incorporated the route in 1988.

From 1981-84, the Town of Ithaca, County and Cornell subsidized new service to East Hill Plaza and Eastern Heights. CU Transit incorporated the route in 1984.

In 1976, a coalition of municipalities and human service agencies formed GADABOUT Transportation Services to address travel needs of seniors and people with disabilities. GADABOUT operates ADA paratransit service for TCAT and is based at the TCAT facility.

Tompkins County became involved in supporting suburban routes and in developing rural transit service. The County extended fixed-route bus service to Dryden, Caroline and Newark Valley [ In Tioga County] (1982), Groton (1983), Newfield and Ulysses (1985), and Lansing and Danby (1991). In 1999, TCAT initiated bus service to Enfield, the last unserved town in the County. In the 1990’s the City, Cornell and County built on their legacy of cooperation around goals of mutual interest, to expand and improve transit service and facilities:

In 1988, Cornell began paying the fares for its employees to ride city and county buses.

In 1992, the City, Cornell and County built a $5 million transit facility to base transit operations and fleet maintenance including GADABOUT. [County Resolution No 32 of 1990 "Acceptance of Conceptual Design for Joint Transit Maintenance Facility and Authorizing Federal Section 18 Application", February 20, 1990, Tompkins County Board of Representatives.]

In 1996, the City, County and Cornell were successful in amending the New York State General Municipal Law to permit creating a public-private partnership to operate transit service. [Article 5-I, Section 119-s-1 of the New York State General Municipal Law] TCAT’s first general manager, Rod Ghearing was hired. The TCAT name and logo were created. [On July 1, 1996 the three services rebranded their services under the common TCAT name, which had been suggested by Mark Jutton, a technician in the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, in a countywide competition. Stewart, David. " [ Transit system gets a name: It's T CAT] ,"Cornell Chronicle, 25 April 1996] Route 10 began and TCAT became the first New York transit system to install bike racks on its bus fleet.

After TCAT was formally organized as a public-private joint partnership (governmental entity) in April 1998, it worked on reorganizing service and fares into a single system, expanding service, addressing safety and training issues, creating a strategic plan, and re-organizing TCAT as a private, not-for-profit corporation and single employer.

From 1997-99, TCAT completed a plan to consolidate services and fares as a single transit system. TCAT's new routes and fares went into effect in August 1999.

From 1998-2004, TCAT ridership increased 24% to 2.8 million passengers.

From 2000-03, TCAT explored the feasibility for a downtown transportation center at the Commons. In 2003, the project was redeveloped as the City Center Project including reconstruction of four major bus stops plus pedestrian amenities. The Seneca bus stop was the first stop completed in 2007.

In 2004, TCAT re-organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, TCAT. Inc.

In 2005, TCAT hired Joe Turcotte as its second General Manager. TCAT recognized the United Auto Workers as its bargaining unit.

From 2004 to 2007, TCAT ridership increased 11% to 3.1 million passengers.


As of 2007, thirty-eight bus routes comprise the TCAT system. Routes are identified by number and are usually indicated on a marquee at the front of the bus, and sometimes on the side as well. Some notable routes are as follows:

*Route 10 is a loop shuttle service between the Cornell University Campus and Downtown Ithaca (The Commons.) Service is every ten minutes, the most frequent of any route on the system, and runs Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
*Route 11 connects the Ithaca College Campus with downtown Ithaca. It runs every half hour Monday through Saturday until 7:00 p.m. and once hourly on Sunday until approximately 5:00 p.m.. It also serves the Longview Retirement Home. Monday through Saturday, alternating buses assigned to route 11 continue through to route 15 while at the Ithaca Commons(see below.) On Sundays, each route 11 bus continues to route 15.
*Route 12 is an evening and late-night service that connects the Cornell University and Ithaca College campuses, stopping at The Commons in between. It runs once hourly from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
*Route 13 connects The Commons with Ithaca High School, P&C Market on Hancock St, Aldi, Stewart Park, and Ithaca Mall. Route 13 runs once hourly Weekdays between 6:14 am to 7:25 pm, and on Saturdays from 7:30 am to 8:25 pm. Route 13 is also a short walk from the Ithaca Farmers Market, a popular market open during the summer near the Aldi bus stop.
*Route 14 runs between the West Hill Neighborhood of Ithaca and the Ithaca Commons. It also stops at the Ithaca Bus Terminal and connects with Greyhound and Coach USA Inter-city bus service to New York City (via Binghamton), Syracuse, and Rochester.
*Route 15 connects the Ithaca Commons with Wegmans and Tops Supermarkets on Meadow Drive in the south section of Ithaca, and also stops at Walmart, Kmart, Lowes Home Improvement and other shops along the way. Each bus normally originates from the 11 route.
*Route 16 connects the Fall Creek area of Ithaca with the Ithaca Commons and also stops at Ithaca High School and the TCAT Facility on Willow Avenue.
*Route 17 connects the Ithaca Commons with the TCAT facility and offices.
*Route 19 connects the Ithaca Commons with the hospital (Cayuga Medical Center.)
*Route 30 links the Commons with the Ithaca Mall, running through the Cornell Campus along the way. Service operates every half hour during off-peak hours, and during peak periods every fifteen minutes. Service runs daily. Route 30 also serves as the primary service for Cornell students going downtown during evenings and weekends when the route 10 bus isn't running.
*Route 31 connects the Ithaca Commons with Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport
*Route 35 connects North Campus to the Cayuga Heights area and Ithaca Mall on Saturdays & Sundays.
*Routes 41 and 43 connect the Ithaca Commons with Tompkins-Cortland Community College (TC3), also passing through Cornell University."'
*Routes 80, 81, 82, 83, and 85 are Cornell campus services that connect the various parking lots and academic centers of Cornell University.
*Routes 92 and 93 are Cornell Blue-Light night services that run until 2 a.m. and are composites of some of the daytime routes. Blue Light services are free for Cornell students and faculty with a valid Cornell ID.

Other routes link the rural parts of Tompkins County with Ithaca. These services are comparably infrequent, usually running only every few hours (generally coinciding with typical commuter schedules) on weekdays only. There is no TCAT service on New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Service is sometimes reduced on other holidays, such as Labor Day and Christmas Eve, and service to and from the college campuses is reduced and/or suspended outright during semester and summer breaks.

For complete list of routes and schedules, see [ here] .


TCAT operates a mix of 49 35 ft and 40 ft transit buses and two small 14-passenger buses. All TCAT buses are wheelchair accessible. However, TCAT's fleet is 90% compliant with ADA requirements for each bus having two instead of one wheelchair positions. The fleet consists mainly of the following models:

Current Fleet

TCAT also offers monthly and semester passes for Ithaca College and Cornell University students at a substantial discount.

1-8 day passes and the annual pass can only be purchased directly from the TCAT office or online. Ten ride cards and the monthly pass are sold at various outlets throughout the city of Ithaca and Tompkins County. K-12 and college student passes are purchased through the student's respective school or college.

Historical Photos


External links

* [ TCAT Official Website]
* [ TCAT Trip Planner]
* [ A list of retailers selling monthly passes and ten ride cards]
* [ TCAT Online Store, sells all pass types and ten ride cards]
* [ TCAT Gillig Bus Photos via TTMG]
* [ TCAT Orion Bus Photos via TTMG]

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