Bus & Paratransit
Why take the bus?
The bus can be a convenient, "green," and low-cost way to get around--while you chat, read or just relax. Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT), our award-winning local public transit provider, has stops at the local airport, hospital and post office; local schools and colleges; major shopping centers, parks and attractions; key spots in outlying towns, and many more places.
Finding the right bus
If you have a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to use the bus, ADA paratransit can help you get around. You may call TCAT's ADA Paratransit Coordinator at 607-277-9388 ext. 420, or contact the Finger Lakes Independence Center for more information and support at 607-272-2433.
For information on bus routes that cross county lines, see Regional Buses and Trains.
Bus fares, passes and discounts
If you're having trouble affording rides to work or to look for work, you may qualify for discounted bus passes through Working Families Transportation Assistance. TCAT also offers discounts off the regular fare on many of their fare and pass options, and half price discounts to youth ages 6-17, people aged 60 or over, or for people that recieve SSI, SSD, or VA benefits. TCAT also offers semester passes for youth. Kids under age 6 ride for free.
Paying for the bus
To ride the bus, you can pay with cash, or use a pre-paid Tcard. Tcards are plastic cards you can buy pre-loaded with the number of rides, number of days, or kind of pass you want. Then, simply swipe the card when boarding the bus.
T-Cards can be purchased online, at TCAT headquarters, at the Green Street Station, many other locations around town. Use your pass until it runs our, then drop it in the farebox--TCAT will recycle if for you.
You'll also be able to recharge your card online at tcatbus.com or by calling TCAT at 277-RIDE. You'll also be able to pay using a low-cost key fob or sticker attached to your key chain, phone or any flat surface.
Boarding the bus
Riders should wait for other passengers to exit before boarding. If needed, you can use the lift or have the bus 'kneel' (go lower down) to help you board the bus.
Waving down or flagging the bus
The bus can stop for you on any safe corner in the City or along a rural roadway. This does not include Cornell's campus, where the bus stops at designated stops only.
Riding with Kids
Children under six years old can ride for free and must be accompanied by a responsible adult (up to three children per adult). Youth aged 6-17years have discounted fare, see information at the top of this page.
Carry-ons, Strollers, Walkers & Carts
All of the above are allowed on the bus, as long as they do not block the aisle, and they are stowed in a way so that if the bus driver has to stop quickly, they do not fly forward.
A good rule of thumb is to ride the bus with only what you can carry on and off thebus in one trip. This will keep the bus moving and help all riders have enough space.