Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit

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Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit
TCAT logo.png
Founded 1998 (1998)
Headquarters 737 Willow Ave.Coordinates: 42°27′12″N 76°30′20″W / 42.45333°N 76.50556°W / 42.45333; -76.50556
Locale Ithaca, New York
Service area Tompkins County, New York
Service type bus service, paratransit
Hubs Green Street (Commons)
Cornell University
Ithaca Mall
Fleet 54 vehicles[1]
Daily ridership 4.13 million annual trips
Fuel type Diesel, Electric-Diesel
Operator TCAT, Inc. (fixed routes)
GADABOUT (paratransit)

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. The vast majority of TCAT bus routes are based in the City of Ithaca and surrounding urban area. These routes serve Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

As of 2013, TCAT operates 33 bus routes.[2] Door to door paratransit service is provided by GADABOUT Transportation Services, Inc.


TCAT buses on Cornell's campus

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) was formed in 1998 by consolidating three public transit systems – Ithaca Transit (City of Ithaca), TOMTRAN (Tompkins County)[3] and CU Transit (Cornell University) into a single system. In the 1960s the City and Cornell established independent bus systems which expanded throughout the next two decades. Service was first extended to serve Ithaca’s suburbs in the 1970s, and to rural towns beginning in 1982. In 1974, a transit service in Northeast Ithaca (Lansing, Cayuga Heights and the Town of Ithaca) was started by apartment owners contracting with Swarthout Coaches to operate limited service for Cornell students, and as the public demand for service increased, the apartment owners sought assistance from local governments and Cornell University, which became Northeast Transit in 1978.

Tompkins County became involved in supporting suburban routes and in developing rural transit service. The County formed TOMTRAN to extend fixed-route bus service to Dryden, Caroline and Newark Valley[4] in 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 1992, the City, Cornell and County built a $5 million transit facility to base transit operations and fleet maintenance including GADABOUT.[5] In 1996, the New York State Legislature adopted a state law that authorized TCAT to be created as a joint partnership, governmental entity,[6] and 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, service began in 1999, establishing a unified route and fare system.[7] TCAT re-organized itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, TCAT. Inc. in 2005 with representatives of City of Ithaca, Cornell University, and Tompkins County serving on its Board of Directors.

In 1976, a consortium of municipalities and human service agencies formed GADABOUT Transportation Services to address travel needs of seniors and people with disabilities and today operates the Federally mandated paratransit service for Tompkins County. Although GADABOUT did not join TCAT in 1998, the two companies are still closely related, with GADABOUT leasing space and maintenance services from TCAT.


Thirty-three bus routes comprise the TCAT system.[8] 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. TCAT's main hub is Green Street Station, off of the Commons, a two-block pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca. Most non South Hill routes run through the Cornell University campus; East Avenue near Statler Hall is considered a secondary hub.[9]

Downtown and West Hill[edit]

  • Route 14 West Hill – Commons – Hospital
  • Route 13 Commons – Fall Creek – Mall
  • Route 15 Commons – Titus Towers – Wegmans – Tops – Lowes – WalMart
  • Route 17 Commons and/or Cornell to TCAT.

South Hill[edit]

  • Route 11 Ithaca College – Commons
  • Route 65 Danby – Commons

East Hill, Collegetown and Cornell University Campus[edit]

  • Route 10 Cornell – Commons Shuttle
  • Route 13 Commons – Fall Creek – Mall
  • Route 30 Commons – Shops at Ithaca Mall
  • Route 31 Commons – Cornell-NE Ithaca
  • Route 32 Commons – Airport (via Cornell, C'Town)
  • Route 36 South Lansing – Commons
  • Route 37 North Lansing – Commons
  • Route 51 Commons – Cornell – Eastern Heights
  • Route 52 Caroline – Commons
  • Route 53 Ellis Hollow – Brooktondale
  • Route 70 Commons – Cornell – Mall Weekend Service
  • Route 72 Commons – Cornell – Airport Weekend Service
  • Route 74 Groton – Winston Court – Mall Weekend Service
  • Route 75 TC3 – Cornell – Mall Weekend Service
  • Route 77 Mall – Warren Road Weekend Service
  • Route 81 A Lot to B Lot via central campus
  • Route 82 Hasbrouck to East Hill Plaza via central campus
  • Route 83 North Campus to West Campus via central campus
  • Route 90 Commons to North Campus via C-Town and central campus
  • Route 92 North Campus, West Campus, Central and Vet, C-Town and East Hill Plaza
  • Route 93 North Campus, West Campus, Central, C-Town, East Hill Plaza, Snyder Hill Rd. and Slaterville Rd. via Honess Lane

Rural routes[edit]

  • Route 20 Commons – Enfield
  • Route 21 Trumansburg – Commons – Cornell
  • Route 40 Varna – Freeville – Groton
  • Route 41 On Demand service. Cornell from Etna, Hanshaw Rd, Lower Creek.
  • Route 43 Dryden – Cornell – Varna – TC3
  • Route 52 Caroline – Commons
  • Route 53 Ellis Hollow – Brooktondale
  • Route 65 Danby – Commons
  • Route 67 Newfield – Commons – Cornell
  • Route 74 Groton – Mall Weekend Service
  • Route 75 TC3 – Dryden – Cornell – Mall Weekend Service
  • Route 77 Mall – Warren Road Weekend Service


TCAT operates a mix of 51 35 ft and 40 ft transit buses and three small 14-passenger buses. All TCAT buses are wheelchair accessible. The fleet is composed of buses manufactured by Gillig, Nova Bus, and Orion Bus Industries.

Current fleet[edit]

A TCAT Advantage T40 bus
Fleet Number(s) Year Manufacturer Model Notes
101–108 2001 Nova Bus LFS
201–204,206–209 2002 New Flyer D40LF
601–608 2006 Gillig Advantage T40
610–612 2006 Ford E450
613–615 2007 Gillig Advantage T40
701–703 2007 Gillig Advantage T40
901–902 2009 Gillig Advantage T40
1102–1103 2011 Gillig Advantage T40 Hybrid
1104–1106, 1108-1109, 1118 (Formerly 1107) 2011 Gillig Advantage T40
1110–1116 2011 Orion VII Next Generation bus
1501-1502 2015 Gillig Advantage T40
1601-1605 2016 Gillig Advantage T40


TCAT charges a flat fare for all trips – except when boarding or disembarking in Tioga County or Schuyler County. Cash customers are entitled to one free transfer upon request. Seniors and those with disabilities pay half-fare, as do children under 18. Additionally, up to three children, aged five or younger, travel free with an adult.

Cash fares[edit]

Adult (18–59) Youth (6–17) Senior (60+)/ Disabled
Single Fare $1.50 75 cents 75 cents Valid for any continuous one-way trip within Tompkins County, includes one free transfer.
Out of County Fare $2.50 $1.50 $1.50 Higher fare for trips that begin or end in Tioga County on TCAT operated routes.


Price Notes
Ten Ride Card $15.00 (Adult)
$7.50 (Youth)
$7.50 (Senior)
Valid for ten one way rides, no expiration date.
One Day Pass $3.00 Good for unlimited trips on a single calendar day.
Multi Day Passes $6.00 (2 days)
$12.50 (5 days)
$18.00 (8 days)
Good for unlimited trips for two, five, or eight consecutive days respectively.
Monthly Pass $45.00 Valid until midnight on the 30th day after first use.
Annual Pass $495.00 (or $41.25 monthly) Valid for one year.
Semester Student Pass $30.00 Valid Sept–Jan or Feb–June. Must be aged 6–18 and be in grades K-12 school in the TCAT region.
Summer Fun Pass $50.00 Valid July and August. Must be aged 6–18 and attending school in the TCAT region.

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 images[edit]


  1. ^ TCAT Bus – Fun Facts
  2. ^ TCAT BUS : Home | Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, New York
  3. ^ County Resolution No 152 of 1980 "Acceptance of Interim County-wide Transportation Plan", June 9, 1980, Tompkins County Board of Representatives.
  4. ^ In Tioga County
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Article 5-I, Section 119-s-1 of the New York State General Municipal Law
  7. ^ TCAT prepares for bus fare change and announces perk for CU employees
  8. ^ TCAT Bus – All Routes
  9. ^ TCAT system map

External links[edit]