TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — TCAT will launch its fall schedule on Sunday, adding more bus routes as students return to Cornell University and Ithaca College. This year, though, there will be an additional phase of service changes in October when nine new buses come online.

“A second fall service period will allow us to adjust the schedules and add more capacity if we see problems developing in early fall,’’ Assistant General Manager Matt Yarrow, who oversees TCAT’s transit development and planning, said in a media release.

The first fall service period will run from Aug. 25 through Oct. 26. As usual, the fall schedule includes adjustments to timing and routes based on TCAT’s resources and shifts in ridership.

Ithaca College students will have access to two new routes served by the Route 11 bus. In addition to Route 11 trips between the college and the Commons, a nighttime 11N bus will run between Ithaca College and Collegetown by way of the Commons, with trips until about 1:50 a.m. on weekends. In addition, an 11S weekend shopper will bring students directly from campus to Wegmans, Tops and Walmart on Saturdays and Sundays.

Related: TCAT to eliminate Zone 2 fares, reducing costs for rural riders

Riders who board TCAT outside the central Ithaca zone will see fares drop on Sunday, as TCAT’s new unified fare structure takes effect. TCAT announced earlier this summer that it would eliminate its zone system, which charged higher fares for riders traveling into Ithaca from outlying parts of the county. Beginning Sunday, all fares will be $1.50 for a single adult ride, or 75 cents for seniors, youths and people with disabilities. The value of existing zone 2 passes will be automatically converted into rides or days at the new rate.

Riders should expect another round of service adjustments to take effect Oct. 27 through Jan. 18. At that point, nine new buses will replace unreliable older buses in TCAT’s fleet. According to a media release, TCAT will take possession of the new buses in September and then will work to install GPS and fare box equipment and to get them inspected by the New York State Department of Transportation. The agency says the new buses be put into service as soon as possible to fill in gaps caused by its aging fleet.

“Instead of waiting for winter service in January, TCAT’s service development team opted for a midway redesign to plug in any service gaps. And by that time they will have more confidence in knowing TCAT’s increasingly unreliable older buses – a big chunk of its 50-plus fleet – will be swapped out with nine brand new road-ready New Flyer 40-foot buses to replace increasingly unreliable old buses,” a media release reads.

Here’s a full list of the fall service changes that will take effect Sunday:

  • Route 10: Timing changes to cluster buses before morning class times to provide capacity when and where needed.
  • Route 11, 11N & 11S:  Two new configurations of the route 11 will provide more customized service to South Hill and Ithaca College at night on weekends:
  • Route 11 will  operate Mon. through Fri. until just after 9 p.m.
  • Route 11N is a night night-time route that will connect South Hill and IC with the Commons and Collegetown. It will operate hourly Mon-Wed and every 30 minutes Thurs-Sat.
  • Route 11S replaces the previous route 11 weekend service.
  • Route 13: Minor timing changes. Outbound service to Stewart Park will be demand only. Please let the driver know when you board that Stewart Park is your destination.
  • Route 14 & 14S: No changes to route 14, but route 14S has minor timing changes on the first three trips on weekdays to avoid overlap with the route 14.
  • Route 15: Three half-hour Saturday trips were removed because the new route 11S will provide a very similar service. For more convenient weekend access to shopping, look to use both the 15 and 11S.
  • Route 20: Third trip will serve West Campus.
  • Route 22: Summer-only weekday route ends Fri., Aug. 23. Last day for Sat. service is Aug. 24. Stay tuned for next summer.
  • Route 21: Minor timing adjustments.
  • Route 30: Weekend service returns. College Ave. detour will continue: outbound service rerouted to Ithaca Rd. to Oak Ave. and inbound service detoured onto Dryden Rd.; to Elmwood Ave.; to Ithaca Rd.
  • Route 31: Added a 9 p.m. outbound trip due to rider input.
  • Route 32: Outbound service to Northwood added in the p.m. College Ave detour on Ithaca Rd. and Hoy Rd. will continue.
  • Route 36: Added short trips inbound in the a.m. to form better connections between northern Fall Creek neighborhood and Cornell. TCAT will gauge success, based on ridership. Minor timing adjustments.
  • Route 37: Timing adjustments to improve on-time performance.
  • Route 40: Timing adjustments to accommodate detour around Freeville SR38 bridge construction project.
  • Route 41:  Mid-day trip adjustments.
  • Route 43: Minor timing adjustments. Inbound express in p.m. will stop in Varna due to rider input.
  • Route 51:  Service along Maple Ave on weekends will be discontinued for the academic year.
  • Route 52: Fourth trip will serve West Campus. Last two trips inbound will end at the Vet School and continue downtown as a route 67. Minor timing adjustments.
  • Route 53: No changes
  • Route 65: Aurora St detour ends, and route will no longer run on Hudson St., resulting in route timing changes. The Danby Park n’ Ride now officially moved to Dotson Park, located across Danby Town Hall.
  • Route 67: Minor timing adjustments.
  • Route 70: College Ave.detour will continue: outbound service runs on Ithaca Rd. to Oak Ave., and inbound service runs on Dryden Rd.; to Elmwood Ave.; to Ithaca Rd.
  • Route 72: Outbound service to Northwood added in the p.m. College Ave. detour on Ithaca Rd. and Hoy Rd. will continue.
  • Route 74: One trip added on Saturday due to rider feedback. Minor timing adjustments.
  • Route 75: No changes.
  • Route 77: No changes.
  • Route 81: Due to North Campus construction, trip times have been adjusted. TCAT added off-peak direction trips on the schedule.
  • Route 82:  Trips after 10 a.m will operate every 11 minutes instead of every 10 minutes. TCAT expects this to be a temporary change until the end of the first part of fall service ending Oct. 26.
  • Route 83: Change in route alignment: the 83 will now travel between North Campus and Central Campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. TCAT advises West Campus riders to use route 10, the route 36 and specific trips of the routes 20, 37, and 52 that will serve Baker Flagpole in the a.m. on weekdays.
  • Route 90: Change in route alignment. For those who previously used route 90 to travel between Downtown and Collegetown or Cornell at night, please refer to the 11N. Connections between the 11N and the 90 will be available at Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.
  • Route 92: Route returns to academic year service.
  • Route 93: Route returns to academic year service.

Additional information is available on TCAT’s website, and the bus tracker site can be used to check real-time arrivals and departures.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at dmagliozzi@ithacavoice.com or 607-391-0328.