Update (5:55 p.m.): Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) has announced temporary cuts to service for Thursday and Friday. Originally, cuts were projected to last through May 1, but TCAT expects service to normalize for the weekend.

Completely cancelled routes include: 14S; 83; 90; and 92.

Over 20 routes have some reduction in frequency of service. For the full list, visit the TCAT website.

ITHACA, N.Y.—Effective Thursday, Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit is reducing its service due to the impacts of a “substantial number of drivers” taking sick leave with an already strained staff. The impact will last at least until Sunday, May 1, and potentially beyond.

An update to routes and specific service interruptions are supposed to be released by TCAT on Wednesday, and will be available on the organization’s website. Riders are also being encouraged to check TCAT’s Bus Tracker to check for updates.

TCAT has been working to fill a driver shortage that has dogged the transit service throughout the pandemic. TCAT stated that some of the riders that have called out sick tested positive for COVID-19.

TCAT drivers were picking up extra shifts throughout the pandemic in order to prevent a disruption in service. The taxing hours were cemented with a mandate by TCAT in February when a robust recruitment effort had yet to yield and retain the number of drivers needed.

To help with the shortage, TCAT’s administrative staff has been driving bus routes in recent months. Around 10 of the staff still possesses a commercial drivers license after moving from behind a driver’s wheel to behind a desk within the organization,

TCAT released a statement apologizing “for any inconvenience, and asks riders for their patience as staff work through these temporary setbacks.”

Jimmy Jordan

Jimmy Jordan is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact him at jjordan@ithacavoice.com Connect with him on Twitter @jmmy_jrdn