ITHACA, N.Y.—Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) will initiate emergency service cuts effective Thursday as the transit company continues to struggle under driver shortages and a bottleneck in bus repairs — issues that have plagued TCAT for over a year now.

TCAT announced the cuts Wednesday in a press release as part of a “short-term strategy” to utilize more of their available buses for high-demand routes. Two routes, the 14S and 83, are being completely eliminated.

The explanation for the cuts TCAT offered in its release is to avoid a “downward spiral of lost ridership” on its most heavily trafficked routes, like the 10, 30, and 81 — all three of which run through Cornell University’s campus. These busy routes have been the frequent subject of last minute service cuts, according to TCAT. 

In the written release, TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool said, “These service changes are an unfortunate trade-off – a choice between potentially losing a substantial number of customers or lessening the impact by spreading the inconvenience among several routes.”

The high ridership routes bring in the revenue that supports the entire bus system, Vanderpool said. The continuous last minute service cut has resulted in “hundreds of people on the curb everyday.”

Two of TCAT’s routes are being eliminated, and five are seeing their frequency reduced. 

TCAT service changes to go into effect Thursday, Sept. 14 until further notice:

Routes to be eliminated:

  • 14S (West Hill shopper) West Hill riders needing to travel to southwest shopping centers are advised to use route 14 to travel downtown, and transfer to a route 15 that serves southwest retailers.
  • 83 (Cornell Campus)  Riders are urged to use route 31 for alternative service. 

Routes and adjustments are as follows:

  • Route 10 (Commons-Cornell) Eliminated 7:11a.m.; 7:33 a.m.; 7:55 a.m. and 8:17 a.m. trips starting from Seneca St. Station.
  • Route 13 (Commons/Fall Creek/Aldi/Ithaca High School) Eliminated the 10:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. outbound trips starting from Green St. Eliminated the 10:35 a.m. inbound trip starting from Stewart Park to Green St. Station and the 11:20 a.m. inbound from Stewart Park to the Hancock @ Third stop. (The inbound trip from Aldi at 11:29 a.m. will continue from Aldi as usual. The 6:53 a.m.. inbound trip from TCAT to downtown is also cut.
  • Route 21 (Trumansburg/ Commons) Eliminates the 7:42 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station and the 8:15 a.m. inbound trip starting from Compass Manufactured Home Community.
  • Route 40 (Groton/Cornell/Commons) Cuts the 8:40 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 9:15 a.m. inbound starting from Groton Speedway.
  • Route 81 (Cornell Campus) Cuts the 8:25 a.m. from A-Lot and the 8:43 a.m. from Boyce Thompson Institute.

Jimmy Jordan is Senior Reporter for The Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn