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Frequently Asked Questions about TCAT & the Coronavirus Pandemic

Fall schedules go into effect 8/30/20 and will be announced beforehand

TCAT’s fall service will begin Sun., Aug. 30, with more service to accommodate students returning to local campuses and with more businesses and organizations meeting criteria to re-open.

We will continue to strictly maintain the many safety protocols we have in place and adopt any new measures per expert advice to protect all riders and employees.

Schedules will be announced here soon.

NOTE: TCAT is fare free through Sat., Sept. 5.

The following is a list of questions and answers we compiled from the feedback we have been receiving from riders and the public. If your questions are not answered here, please send them to tcat@tcatmail.com and we will do our best to respond as soon as possible.

1. Question: How is the coronavirus impacting service?

Answer: In response to a substantial drop in ridership due to stay-at-home directives, TCAT  starting reducing service  in March. TCAT’s summer service went into effect Sun., May 24, with some additional service, but still less than is normally offered over the summer.  Click here for details.

As mentioned above, TCAT will roll out fall service on Aug. 30. Schedules and information will soon be available.

The crisis also prompted TCAT to cease accepting fares effective March 20 and TCAT’s board of directors recently extended the policy for a third time through Sept. 5, to reduce rider-driver proximity as well as to help many people who may be struggling financially during the crisis. 

2. Question: Why are you running buses during a pandemic?

Answer: All of us should limit our  exposure to other people, but most of us still need to travel to buy food, medicine and to keep medical appointments. Some of us are deemed essential workers who can’t work remotely. And keep in mind, we have riders who have no other means of transportation. As more and more businesses and organizations are allowed to re-open, so will the demand for transit.

3. Question: What can I as a rider do to protect myself and others while riding the bus?

Answer: First and foremost please wear a mask or appropriate face covering when boarding and for the duration of your trip. Riders must wear face coverings as do all people who are out in public and who cannot practice social distancing, according to a New York State Executive Order. Depending on supplies, TCAT bus operators may be able to supply riders with face masks, but please remember to bring your own if you can.  Go to the CDC to learn how to make your own mask here.

Please note, bus drivers and other transit employees are also required to wear face coverings or masks when in contact with the public, but drivers, who are often on the road many hours a day, are allowed to remove their masks when they are alone on the bus.

Follow all other guidelines from health experts, practice good hygiene, wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, and please stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness.

TCAT also asks that everyone riding the bus to practice social distancing by sitting as far apart as possible from fellow riders. We are also limiting each bus to 20 riders and will provide back-up buses for overflow.


4. Question: What is your action plan if your drivers and other essential employees are told by their doctor to stay home or quarantine?

Answer: These are unprecedented times that requires understanding and patience from everyone. TCAT has a finite number of personnel and we are dealing with unknowns and rapid changes each day and sometimes by the hour. If our drivers are off on sick leave or are advised by a physician to stay home to care for family members, significant others or domestic partners, we will attempt to use back-up drivers to continue to provide service to the best or our ability. If we fall short of drivers, we will cancel specific trips, starting with higher-frequency routes that will have shorter wait times between the canceled trip and the next bus.

5. Question: What is the best way to get information about any updates about TCAT service?


TCAT will do its best to update passengers as soon as possible here on its website at https;//www.tcatbus.com or on its Bus Tracker https://realtimetcatbus.availtec.com/InfoPoint/   Or check your MyStop or other apps. To download go to https://www.tcatbus.com/Apps

 Our customer service representatives are available 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. at (607)277-RIDE (7433). Again, please note, due to high call volumes, we suggest you first go to the Bus Tracker or apps to look for updates if you can.

6. Question: What are TCAT’s sanitizing protocols?

 Answer: TCAT implemented the following protocols in early March and will continue doing so:

Bus Cleaning: TCAT procured a professional-grade germicidal electrostatic sprayer for bus handlers to disinfect bus interior surfaces every night at the end of the day’s service period to include stanchions, handrails and seats. This extra step is in addition to their daily routine of cleaning and sanitizing all buses to include Gadabout’s fleet.

Facility Cleaning: custodians ̶  every morning before opening time  ̶  will also use the electrostatic sprayer to sanitize surfaces inside Green Street Station (when it is re-opened.) TCAT’s major hub and indoor passenger waiting area. Custodians will also take extra steps in sanitizing employee and public areas within the Willow Avenue facility.

Hand Sanitizers:are to be available to riders on all buses.

Rider Guidelines:posters with CDC information with COVID-19 prevention and personal hygiene guidelines, such as hand washing and self-isolating in the event of illness, are to be placed in buses and at key shelters.

Employee Guidelines: CDC guidelines, as listed above, along with other measures recommended by human resources experts, have been posted in all employee areas. All TCAT employees reporting for duty must first review and answer a list of questions to determine if they have symptoms of illness. They are also required to have their temperature taken by a supervisor to determine if they have a fever. Anyone reporting symptoms or whose temperature indicates a fever will be immediately told to go home and contact their physician to obtain medical attention. They must prove that they are cleared by physician of illness and are able to safely return to work.

Employee supplies: all employees are being supplied with  hand sanitizers, as well as germicidal wipes with instructions on how to sanitize their personal space.

Question: Where can I get more information?

Answer: Just to name a few that are available, the following agencies are providing expert and up-to-date guidelines:

Tompkins County Health Department

New York State Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cornell University

Ithaca College

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Way2Go transportation guidelines 

Need a ride to the Tompkins County COVID-19 drive-thru testing center located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall? First register for testing online at  www.cayugahealth.org or by calling (607) 319-5708.

Then call 2-1-1 to schedule a safe and free ride with ASAP Cab Company.  2-1-1’s hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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