Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) has announced the start of its summer service routes, as well as the extension of its no-fare rides until June 30 in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
TCAT has had a no-fare policy in place since mid-March to cut down on driver-rider contact via the fare box. It was set to expire on May 23. It's also meant to provide some relief to the many riders who have lost jobs or had salaries cut due to the outbreak.
“Continuing to suspend fare collecting is essential based on the fact that there are still so many unknowns,” said TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool. “We will reevaluate the situation once again at the end of June and hope for the best.”
Additionally, TCAT is requiring riders to wear face masks or coverings, in accordance with a directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though people with health issues preventing them from wearing face coverings and children under 2 are exempt. The 20-rider limit per bus is still in place.
Many routes will be modified for the summer, but TCAT will still be operating reduced service to mirror lower demand when summer service starts Sun., May 24.
Ridership is down to only about 5 percent of what it was before the coronavirus pandemic escalated state-at-home-directives and closings in mid-March, according to a release from TCAT. TCAT expects ridership to remain lower than normal over the summer period. Summer service typically ends in late August, but TCAT will operate the summer schedule indefinitely due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
For summer schedules go to https://www.tcatbus.com/content/uploads/2020/05/Summer-2020-Schedules.pdf. Riders who desire printed schedules can call TCAT at (607) 277-RIDE (7433); email staff at email@example.com; or mail a request to TCAT, 737 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY, 14850, marked “schedule request.” (Please remember to provide a return mailing address.)