TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– Tompkins County Area Transit (TCAT) announced today that almost all of their buses will now feature free Wi-Fi.

All but TCAT’s 10 soon-to-be-replaced buses now have Wi-Fi capability for those with smart mobile devices, according to the agency, 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 –– the network should appear with the word “TCAT” plus the number (not to be confused with route) of the bus they are riding in their device settings. Bus numbers are marked and visible on both the inside and outside of all vehicles.

In their announcement Thursday, TCAT representatives said they had originally planned to equip all buses for Wi-Fi capability by mid-summer of 2019. However, 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 and the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

“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,” Vanderpool said.

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 with Wi-Fi in the subject line.

Anna Lamb

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