For Immediate Release
March 19, 2020
Contact: Patty Poist
Communications and Marketing Manager
(607) 277‑9388 ext. 560
Coronavirus update: TCAT will cease collecting fares 3/20/20 through 4/9/20
Number of riders on each bus to be restricted indefinitely
TCAT starting Fri., March 20, will cease collecting fares for three weeks and will limit the number of riders on each bus to 20 to minimize in-person contact, said TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool.
In announcing TCAT’s new coronavirus prevention strategies today, Vanderpool said the agency decided to forgo fares so that riders will no longer need to put their hands on or near the farebox in an effort to protect them and their drivers. This will also reduce distance as well as time spent between riders when boarding and their drivers, who sit adjacent to the fare box.
No less important, Vanderpool said, another reason for eliminating fares is to offer relief to riders who are struggling to make ends meet.
“With the unemployment rate increasing day by day we know there are a number of people who have limited funds,” Vanderpool said. “We don’t want any of our community members to suffer from transportation barriers when they need to pick up their day-to-day essentials, such as food and medicine.”
Vanderpool said the new fare policy is set to be in place through the end-of-service day Thurs., April 9, adding: “Any decision to avoid collecting fares beyond the April 9th deadline may well depend on circumstances that are way beyond our control.”
Restricting number of riders on buses
TCAT Assistant General Manager Mike Smith today said TCAT is implementing a “social distancing” plan by limiting the number of riders to 20 on each bus, also starting Fri., March 20 and until further notice.
“We have been evaluating ridership data and plan on adding backup buses for the routes that may potentially have more than 20 based on availability,” Smith said. Smith noted that ridership has fallen drastically in recent days, but that some routes may still be heavily used by people needing to travel to pick up essentials.
Several transit agencies across the country are taking similar precautions. Some transit agencies are asking passengers to only use the rear door of transit buses to lengthen the distance between drivers and riders. But Smith said his team decided against this practice as it could prove unsafe, given the rugged terrain, including uneven pavement and low-visibility areas in parts of TCAT’s service area.
Earlier this week, due to low ridership, TCAT reduced service starting Thurs., March 19 through Sat., May 23, when TCAT’s spring service ends. Click here for details. Since the week of March 9, TCAT has also implemented a number of other preventative measures to include intensive disinfection of buses and public areas used by employees and riders. TCAT also closed its passenger indoor area at Green St. Station indefinitely to dissuade in-person gatherings.
Click here for FAQs, which includes links to helpful resources regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
TCAT, Inc. (Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc.) is a not-for-profit corporation that provides public transportation for Tompkins County. TCAT’s annual ridership is more than 4 million, covering a distance of about 1.6 million miles, with a fleet of 55 buses. TCAT also offers complementary ADA Paratransit through a contract with Gadabout Transportation Services, Inc. For more information about TCAT, please visit www.tcatbus.com or call (607) 277-RIDE. Twitter: TCATrides. Facebook: EverythingTCAT. TCAT is a Tompkins County Certified Living Wage and an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Passengers are advised to look for service information and updates at TCAT’s Bus Tracker.