ITHACA, N.Y. — Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit is getting a little help from a neighboring transportation authority to address a bus shortage after missed trips have piled up.
In the month of October alone, TCAT missed 90 trips due to bus shortages, TCAT said. Two buses loaned from Centro, the Syracuse-based Central New York Regional Transportation Authority will put a patch on the issue until a new fleet of buses arrives.
Two weeks ago, Scot Vanderpool, TCAT general manager, reached out to Centro CEO Rick Lee who agreed to lend two 40-foot 2005 New Flyer diesel buses. The buses were transported to Ithaca on Friday and will be put into service once they pass state inspections.
“TCAT is in a particularly bad place on weekdays due to our aging fleet,” Vanderpool said in a news release. “We certainly need the help that Centro is providing to assure that we meet our service demands and to provide the reliable service our customers expect and deserve. We are very appreciative of Rick Lee’s and Centro’s generosity, support and quick response in helping out a fellow transit agency.”
Though the loaned buses are a temporary fix, TCAT has 11 new Gillig buses on the way to replace the company’s aging fleet in February.
The buses from Centro will be used on Route 82. Centro’s buses are painted white with dark blue, light blue and green stripes. TCAT’s logo will be placed on the buses to help Route 82 passengers recognize the buses. Passengers will be alerted via the bus tracker on its website, the MyStop app and elsewhere when the buses go into service, a news release said.
New York Public Transit Association President Bill Carpenter said the collaboration of public transit system statewide has helped communities. In a statement, Carpenter said “community and public transit go hand in hand, it’s that simple.”
The director of fleet maintenance for Centro, Larry Stackhouse, will help train TCAT’s maintenance crew and give an overview of the loaned buses as well as information about preventative maintenance. The New York Department of Transportation has also agreed to expedite the inspections of the two loaned buses.
TCAT’s general manager, Scot Vanderpool, was promoted to the position in August after coming on as operations manager last winter. He previously worked at Centro from 1996 to 2003 before working at Syracuse University, where he was the university’s parking and transit services manager.