Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit

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Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit
TCAT logo.png
Founded1998 (1998)
Headquarters737 Willow Ave.Coordinates: 42°27′12″N 76°30′20″W / 42.45333°N 76.50556°W / 42.45333; -76.50556
LocaleIthaca, New York
Service areaTompkins County, New York
Service typebus service, paratransit
Routes34 bus routes[1]
HubsCommons (Green St., Seneca St., Albany St.)
Cornell University
Ithaca Mall
Fleet54 vehicles[2]
Daily ridership4.13 million annual trips
Fuel typeDiesel, Electric-Diesel
OperatorTCAT, 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 2019, TCAT operates 34 bus routes.[3] 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)[4] 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[5] 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.[6] In 1996, the New York State Legislature adopted a state law that authorized TCAT to be created as a joint partnership, governmental entity,[7] 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.[8] 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-four bus routes comprise the TCAT system.[9] 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 and Tower Road near Statler Hall is considered a secondary hub.[10]

Downtown and West Hill[edit]

  • Route 13 Commons – Fall Creek – Mall
  • Route 14 West Hill – Commons – Hospital
  • 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 11N Ithaca College – Commons – Collegetown
  • Route 11S Ithaca College – Commons – Southside
  • 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 – 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 – Ithaca Mall (Weekend Service)
  • Route 72 Commons – Cornell – Airport (Weekend Service)
  • Route 74 Groton – Winston Court – Ithaca Mall (Weekend Service)
  • Route 75 TC3 – Cornell – Ithaca Mall (Weekend Service)
  • Route 77 Ithaca Mall – Warren Road (Weekend Service)
  • Route 81 A Lot – Vet School via central campus
  • Route 82 Hasbrouck – East Hill Plaza via central campus
  • Route 83 North Campus – Central Campus
  • Route 83W West Campus – Central Campus
  • Route 90 Commons – North Campus via C-Town and central campus
  • Route 92 North Campus, West Campus, Collegetown, Central Campus, Vet School, East Hill Plaza
  • Route 93 North Campus, West Campus, Central Campus, Collegetown, 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 Demand and Response (DAR) 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 – Ithaca Mall (Weekend Service)
  • Route 75 TC3 – Dryden – Cornell – Ithaca Mall (Weekend Service)
  • Route 77 Ithaca Mall – Warren Road (Weekend Service)


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

Current fleet[edit]

A TCAT Advantage T40 bus
Fleet Number(s) Year Manufacturer Model Notes
204,206,208 2002 New Flyer D40LF
601–608 2006 Gillig Advantage T40
610–612 2006 Ford E450
613–614 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
1110–1114, 1116 2011 Orion VII Next Generation Bus
1501-1502 2015 Gillig Advantage T40
1601-1605 2016 Gillig Advantage T40
1801-1811 2018 Gillig Advantage T40
1901-1909 2019 New Flyer 40' Diesel Xcelsior
1910-1912 2019 Champion DF350


TCAT charges an adult fare at $1.50 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.

Historical images[edit]


  1. ^ About TCAT
  2. ^ TCAT Bus – Fun Facts
  3. ^ "About TCAT". TCAT. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  4. ^ County Resolution No 152 of 1980 "Acceptance of Interim County-wide Transportation Plan", June 9, 1980, Tompkins County Board of Representatives.
  5. ^ In Tioga County
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Article 5-I, Section 119-s-1 of the New York State General Municipal Law
  8. ^ TCAT prepares for bus fare change and announces perk for CU employees
  9. ^ "About TCAT". TCAT.
  10. ^ TCAT system map

External links[edit]