TCAT riders now have access to free Wi-Fi during their transit travels.

All but TCAT’s 10 soon-to-be-replaced buses have Wi-Fi capability for those with smart mobile devices, and any new buses joining the fleet will be equipped with the same feature before going into service. Signs are posted on the buses instructing riders on how to connect, a simple and intuitive process. Riders need only to scroll to their device settings and then click on the Wi-Fi network, which will appear with the word “TCAT” plus the number (not to be confused with route) of the bus they are riding. Bus numbers are marked and visible on both the inside and outside of all vehicles.

TCAT had originally planned to equip all its buses for Wi-Fi capability by mid-summer of 2019. The project was held up due to other IT projects that arose, needing more immediate attention. Further delays were caused by international shipping and supply chain issues. Finally, the coronavirus pandemic that started in the first quarter of 2020 caused yet more disruptions.

TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool said he is grateful that TCAT staff were able to once again focus on the project, which was completed earlier this month. Research shows that an estimated 80% of the U.S. population uses smart phones and most people appreciate that they can stay connected while out and about to work, learn or play without incurring data and roaming charges, he said. Given that the pandemic reduced transit ridership, “It is more important than ever before that public transit gives riders as many conveniences as possible,” Vanderpool said. “We hope this will enhance the customer experience and bring our customers back to TCAT.”

As with any unsecured public network, TCAT advises riders to use websites that don’t ask for personal/financial information. Also, as with any wireless service, riders could experience outages/dead zones depending on bus location and weather conditions. Anyone who has a problem or who needs help to use the service should contact TCAT at (607) 277-7433 (RIDE) or email staff at  tcat@tcatmail.com. (Please write Wi-Fi in the subject line.)