ITHACA, N.Y. — Due to a shortage of mechanics, Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) has had to make service reductions which became effective earlier today. 

TCAT announced the reductions on Friday, citing a backlog of bus maintenance as the main cause. Currently, TCAT has only 7 of its 12 mechanic positions filled. 

The short staffing has caused some of TCAT’s busses to fail inspection from the New York State Department of Transportation, keeping them off the road. 

In its press release, TCAT stated that, “Most of the 54 buses in TCAT’s fleet are in good condition, but the need for even the most minor repair can render a bus out of service, compounding an already heavy workload for a lean crew of mechanics”

A repair that might keep a bus off the road could be, for instance, the need to change out break pads. 

These new service reductions come just two months after the TCAT finalized it’s Fall schedule, which resulted in a major service cut that took effect on Aug. 22, mainly caused by the simultaneous driver shortage TCAT is experiencing.

Due to the shortage of mechanics, TCAT stated that sporadic cuts may continue throughout the week if “sudden or unforeseen circumstances” arise. Planners, TCAT said, are analyzing the possibility of service being further cut or restored at the transit agency.

TCAT is advising riders to consult its Bus Tracker service to keep track of changes to route schedules.

The following service cuts were released by TCAT: For Mon. Oct. 17, through Fri., Oct. 21, routes scheduled to run as normal are 11, 14, 14S, 15, 20, 30, 31, 32, 36, 43, 51, 53, 65, 82, 90 and 92,  but the following other routes will be adjusted as follows:

  • Route 10 (Commons/Cornell Loop):

Eliminates late afternoon trips with the last trip departing Seneca St. Station at 3:50 p.m. Reduced frequency for some a.m. trips to every 10 minutes, instead of every 5 minutes.

  • Route 13 (Commons/Fall Creek/Aldi/ Ithaca High School): 

No 8:20 a.m. inbound trip starting from TCAT’s garage.

  • Route 17 (TCAT/Fall Creek/Commons): 

No 7:20 a.m.: 7:28 a.m. and 4:08 p.m. inbound trips starting from TCAT’s garage. No 9:08 a.m.; 9:34 a.m.; 9:56 a.m.; 10:08 a.m.; 10:11 a.m.; 5:31 p.m. and 7:06 p.m. outbound trips from Seneca St. Station to TCAT’s garage.

  • Route 21 (Trumansburg/Jacksonville/Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:42. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 8:15 a.m. inbound trip starting from Compass Manufactured Community.

  • Route 37 (North Lansing/ Cornell/ Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:28 outbound trip starting from Green St. Station and the 8:10 a.m. inbound trip starting from Lansing Town Hall.

  • Route 40 (Groton/Cornell/Commons):

Eliminates the 8:40 a.m. outbound trips starting from Green St. Station, and the 9:25 a.m. inbound trips starting from Groton Speedway. (Groton riders should refer to route 43.)

  • Route 52 (Slaterville Rd./ Varna/Cornell/Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:42 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 8:17 a.m. inbound trip starting from the Caroline Turnaround.

  • Route 67 (Newfield/Cornell/Commons):

Eliminates both the 9:05 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 9:30 a.m. inbound trip starting from Newfield Schools.

  • Route 81 (Cornell Campus):

Eliminates the 7:55 a.m.; 8:27 a.m.; and 8:57 a.m. northbound trips starting from Boyce Thompson Institute, and the 8:10 a.m.; 8:40 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. southbound trips starting from A-Lot. 

  • Route 83 (Cornell Campus):

Eliminates last four afternoon trips with the last northbound trip departing 3:27 p.m. at Stewart @ University and the last southbound trip department Highland @ Wykoff at 3:39 p.m.

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn