ITHACA, N.Y.—Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit’s (TCAT) shortage of mechanics is continuing to restrict the level of bus service that the agency can provide. 

The agency announced on Friday that an extension of service reductions from Oct. 25–28 will occur between Oct. 31 through Nov. 1.

TCAT’s mechanic shortage comes at the same time as a driver shortage — problems being seen across transit agencies in the country. During a Thursday meeting of TCAT’s Board of Directors, TCAT General Manager Scot Vanderpool told the board that, due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and staffing challenges, TCAT has seen its ridership levels return to just about 58% of its 2019 levels.

The mechanic shortage has also hurt TCAT’s consistency on its routes. Vanderpool told the board on Thursday that TCAT has hit a “high point” of 411 missed trips. Of these, Vanderpool identified that 384 of them are a result of the bus shortage TCAT is facing as a result of the short staffed mechanic crew.

“If I had anything to say to the public, it’s be patient,” said Vanderpool. “Because we’re really working hard on trying to get back to where we need to be.” 

TCAT is encouraging riders to use its bus tracker tool to check the status of their routes, and released the following list of service reductions to its Fall 2022 schedule:

  • Route 10 (Commons/Cornell Loop):

Eliminates late afternoon trips with the last trip departing Seneca St. Station at 3:50 p.m. Reduced frequency for some a.m. trips to every 10 minutes, instead of every 5 minutes.

  • Route 13 (Commons/Fall Creek/Aldi/ Ithaca High School):

No 8:20 a.m. inbound trip starting from TCAT’s garage.

  • Route 17 (TCAT/Fall Creek/Commons):

Eliminates the 7:20 a.m.; 7:28 a.m.; and  4:08 p.m. inbound trips starting from TCAT’s garage. Eliminates the 9:08 a.m.; 9:34 a.m.;  9:56 a.m. 10:08 a.m.; 10:11 a.m.; 5:31 and 7:06 p.m. outbound trips starting from Seneca St. Station to TCAT’s garage.

  •  Route 21 (Trumansburg/Jacksonville/Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:42. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 8:15 a.m. inbound trip starting from Compass Manufactured Home Community.

  •  Route 37 (North Lansing/ Cornell/ Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:28 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station and the 8:10 a.m. inbound trip starting from Lansing Town Hall.

 Route 52 (Slaterville Rd./ Varna/Cornell/Commons):

Eliminates both the 7:42 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 8:17 a.m. inbound trip starting from the Caroline Turnaround.

  •  Route 67 (Newfield/Cornell/Commons):

Eliminates both the 9:05 a.m. outbound trip starting from Green St. Station, and the 9:30 a.m. inbound trip starting from Newfield Schools.

  • Route 81 (Cornell Campus):

Eliminates the 7:55 a.m.; 8:27 a.m.; and 8:57 a.m. northbound trips starting from Boyce Thompson Institute, and eliminates the 8:10 a.m.; 8:40 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. southbound trips starting from A-Lot.

  • Route 83 (Cornell Campus):

Eliminates the 4:09 p.m.; 4:39 p.m.; 5:09 p.m. and 5:37 p.m. southbound trips starting from Highland @ Wyckoff; and eliminates the 3:57 p.m.; 4:27 p.m.; 4:57 p.m.; and the 5:25 p.m. northbound trips starting from Stewart @ University.

Jimmy Jordan

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