ITHACA, N.Y. –– Tompkins County Area Transit’s no-fare policy that went into effect in March has been extended through the end of June.

The policy was set to expire on May 23, the day before summer service goes into effect. This is the second time the policy has been extended –– the first time was in early April.

In a press release, TCAT said that ceasing fare collections eliminates the need for riders to put their hands on the farebox, as well as limits the amount of time they spend near drivers, who sit next to the farebox. They also said the measure aims to provide relief to riders who are struggling financially due to layoffs and job losses during the crisis.

“Continuing to suspend fare collecting is essential based on the fact that there are still so many unknowns,” said TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool. “We will reevaluate the situation once again at the end of June and hope for the best.”

As another precaution, TCAT is continuing to require riders to wear a face covering or mask before boarding and while riding the bus, per an executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Those who have health issues preventing them from wearing face coverings or children under the age of 2 are exempt.

To promote social distancing, each bus has a 20-rider limit and, while in transit, riders are asked to sit as far apart as possible.

Summer service is set to start Sunday, May 24 with some route adjustments, and TCAT said they will still be operating reduced service to meet their lower demand –– ridership is down to only about 5 percent of what it was before the coronavirus pandemic escalated here in mid-March. Though stay-at-home restrictions are expected to gradually lift in Tompkins County and elsewhere, TCAT expects ridership to remain lower than normal over the summer period.

Summer service typically ends in late August, but TCAT will operate the schedule indefinitely as timetables for the re-opening of local businesses, schools and organizations remain uncertain. For the full summer schedule click here.

Here are the route adjustments for summer 2020:

  • Route 10 and the (summer-only) route 22, 11N, 11S, 72, 75, 81, 83, 83W, 90, 92 and 93 will not be operating.
  • Routes 53 and 74 will be back in service for the summer.
  • Route 11: Added weekday 7:18 a.m. trip leaving Green St. Station.
  • Route 13: Timepoint moved from Falls @ Lake to Lake @ Ithaca. Departure times for this stop moved one minute earlier.
  • Route 14: Added weekday 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. trips leaving Green St. Station. Added weekend 7 p.m. trip leaving Green St. Station.
  • Route 14S: No changes.
  • Route 15: Added 7:25 a.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3:30 p.m.; and 7 p.m. trips leaving Seneca St. Station. Added Sat. and Sun. 4:30 p.m. trips leaving Seneca St. Station.
  • Route 17: Timing adjustments to accommodate other service changes.
  • Route 20: Timing adjustments with one additional trip. Last outbound trip is drop-off only after Seneca @ Fulton. Sat. and Sun. timing change on last trip.
  • Route 21: Timing adjustments with three additional trips. Last outbound trip is drop-off only after Seneca @ Fulton. Sat. and Sun. last trip from Green St. Station adjusted to 6:05 p.m.
  • Route 30: Added weekday 6 a.m.; 7 a.m.; 7:30 a.m.; 6:30 p.m.; 7 p.m.; and 8 p.m. trips leaving Green St. Station.  Added Sat. and Sun. 7 p.m. trip leaving Green St. Station.
  • Route 31: Added weekday 7:30 a.m. inbound trip leaving Convenient Care.
  • Route 32: Added 7:26 a.m. inbound trip from Northwood Apts. (Route 32 will operate on weekends instead of route 72.)
  • Route 36: Reconfigured with a.m. trips running a loop out on Triphammer Rd. in on East Shore Dr. Midday trip will run in both directions on Triphammer Rd. PM will travel out on East Shore Dr. and back to downtown on Triphammer Rd., stopping at the Shops at Ithaca Mall.
  • Route 37: Timing adjustments. Added three trips. As the route 36 will be serving Lansing Town Hall, route 37 will turn around at Springbrook Circle on all trips.
  • Route 40:  Added one trip. (Route 43 will serve Groton with 3 weekday trips. On weekends, route 74 will serve Groton instead of route 40.)
  • Route 41:  Timing adjustments to match those from previous service periods. Added 1 morning trip.
  • Route 43: Timing adjustments. Added 4 weekday outbound trips. Last 2 outbound trips after Cornell are drop-off only. Will serve Groton with 3 weekday trips. No changes to weekend.
  • Route 51: Added weekday 7:20 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. trips from Seneca St. Station.  No changes to weekend.
  • Route 52: Timing adjustments. Added 1 weekday trip. No changes to weekend.
  • Route 53:  Returns to service with 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. trips running in opposite directions.
  • Route 65: Timing adjustments. Added 1 weekday trip. Slight timing changes on weekends.
  • Route 67: Timing adjustments. Added 1 weekday trip. No changes to weekend.
  • Route 70: Added 7:30 a.m. trip from Green St. Station and added 6:21 p.m. trip from Seneca St. Station.
  • Route 74: Returns to service with four additional trips.
  • Route 77: Timing adjustments for better spacing between trips.
  • Route 82: Added 7:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. trips from A Lot; and added 7:18 a.m. and 7:48 a.m. trips from East Hill Plaza.
Given the many unknowns, TCAT will not publish a 2020 summer Schedules & Service Guide. Riders who desire printed schedules can contact TCAT at (607) 277-RIDE (7433); email, or mail a request to TCAT, 737 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY, 14850, marked “schedule request” with a return mailing address. As always, TCAT advises riders to check for updates using the Bus Tracker at or the MyStop or other apps listed here:

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at