This is a community announcement from TCAT. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements, send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com. Additionally, TCAT has also announced its summer schedule, and any changes can be found here.

Don’t forget that all youth 17 and under (or anyone older and still enrolled in high school) ride any TCAT bus free starting Sun., May 29.

There’s one revision, however, since the program was first announced in early April: Due to a delay in TCAT receiving its first shipment of mag-stripe “FreeRyde” cards, all youth this summer until the start of the fall school year can simply board the bus; no pass required.

Though summer-time boarding will be based on the honor system, starting the fall 2022 school year, those ages 14 to 17 (or older but enrolled in high school) will need to have a “FreeRyde” card to swipe at the farebox. These cards will be distributed by local schools and youth programs. More details will be available later this summer on TCAT’s FreeRyde page.

The requirement for older students to have the cards was created to enable bus operators to distinguish local youth from college students and adults. Those 13 and will continue to be able to board the bus without a card. As with previous policy, children 5 years and younger ride free (with no pass required) so long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The TCAT Board of Directors approved the program at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 24 after TCAT staff determined going fare free for youth would have minimal financial impact on the agency.

TCAT and partners agreed to start the program this summer so that local youth can take advantage of Route 22 , TCATtoTrails, summer camps, trips to local parks and swimm