Editor’s Note: The following is a guest column submitted by Kerry A. Barnes, director of Development & Community Relations at Longview.

To submit an alternative column, contact me anytime at jstein@ithacavoice.com.

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Being a regular TCAT rider for the past six years, I’m dismayed to see the negative attention that accompanied Monday’s accident overshadowing the excellent service TCAT provides.

I have never once felt unsafe on a TCAT bus —I trust my drivers to handle weather and road conditions that I wouldn’t take on myself. I’ve developed relationships with my drivers and had great conversations during my commutes- tips for kicking a cold that just won’t go away, best museums in the Finger Lakes to bring out-of-town guests, current events. When I was training for Women Swimmin’, my bus driver checked in with me every morning to see if I’d been swimming and how my practice went. I’m so appreciative that I don’t have to be behind the wheel myself- I get to enjoy my coffee, check my email and leave the driving to someone else.

Even more so, I’ve been impressed with how TCAT’s drivers have served the seniors who live at Longview, where I work as Director of Development & Community Relations. The drivers are unfailingly patient and kind. One driver, upon hearing a resident was having difficulty after knee surgery, even parked the bus and walked her inside, offering his arm for stability. When a resident accidentally left her wallet on the bus after a shopping trip, the drivers on Route 11 went above and beyond in locating her wallet and returning it to her. I believe a true test of character is how a person treats our elders- TCAT drivers pass that test with flying colors.

I also know that there are hundreds of positive interactions happening on a daily basis between riders and drivers that unfortunately do not get nearly the attention that something like this accident did. So many of us trust our daily commute to TCAT drivers- please take a moment to thank your driver for getting you where you need to go.

-Kerry A. Barnes

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