ITHACA, N.Y. –– Tompkins County Area Transit is continuing its no-fare policy through the summer after the board of directors voted unanimously to extend free rides at their meeting Thursday.

This is the third time the board has voted to eliminate fares. Fares were eliminated originally back in March and extended for the first time in late May. This will extend the policy into September.

The fare-free policy is meant to protect drivers and passengers, as it eliminates the need for riders to go near or put their hands on the farebox, which is located next to the drivers’ area.

TCAT says that by early fall they will install permanent protective barriers to separate drivers from the farebox equipment.

“Given the large number of transit agencies now purchasing these types of shatterproof, anti-glare glass shields, manufacturers have a backlog of orders,” said TCAT Assistant General Manager Mike Smith “In the meantime, TCAT will install temporary barriers in the coming weeks that will enable TCAT to resume collecting fares”

The TCAT board will review and vote whether to reinstate fare collection after Sept. 5 at its Aug. 27 meeting.

As another protective measure, TCAT continues to stress that riders must wear face coverings or masks to board and ride the bus. Additionally, TCAT says they continue to adhere to strict protocols with the disinfection of buses and facilities used by employees and riders.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at