ITHACA, N.Y.—As if Monday morning’s commute wasn’t hectic enough as more snow wettened the ground and blinded the sight of drivers, the normally reliable Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit bus system had to cancel multiple routes due to a staffing shortage.

Three of the Route 81 trips and six of the Route 10 trips were canceled Monday morning, Nov. 29, with TCAT GM Scot Vanderpool blaming supply chain issues that have slowed bus repair materials, as well as a shortage of bus maintenance workers to help maintain the vehicles consistently.

The routes impacted both served Cornell’s campus to downtown, and all took place in the morning hours. TCAT said the issue has been addressed in the short-term, and Vanderpool said he believes there won’t be any more service interruptions related to bus maintenance or staffing.

“Fortunately, all buses have been operating as normal since early afternoon and unless there is a large spate of last-minute, unexpected repairs or maintenance concerns that come in later tonight, we should be in relatively good shape over the next few days,” Vanderpool said in a statement. “Nevertheless, it’s difficult to make any guarantees for the long term while we continue to face persistent labor force and parts challenges.”

The supply chain issues, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and often cited now as one of its most prominent economic impacts, have been quite problematic for TCAT—Vanderpool noted one example, of the agency having to wait three additional weeks for coolant pumps needed for the 2019 buses in the fleet.

He further expressed that those trying to monitor bus routes can do so quickly online for any delays or cancellations.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com